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NEWS | May 31, 2024

Farewell Reflections: An exit interview with Col. Lauren Courchaine

37th Training Wing Public Affairs

As Col. Lauren Courchaine bids farewell to her role within the 37th Training Wing, it’s a moment for reflection and celebration. She envisioned a dynamic and resilient organization that fostered a culture of inclusiveness and respect; was innovative and committed to professional development; and was high performing in every aspect of the mission.

The commander shares her insights, experiences, and wisdom, as she prepares to take on her next role as the Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon, Washington D.C.

Q:  Reflecting on your time at the 37 TRW, what are the key lessons you’ve learned that have shaped your leadership within this specific command?

  • It won’t be perfect the first time, let’s iterate and be persistent.
  • It’s imperative to create an environment where every Airmen has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.
  • High performing teams and hard work will almost always solve almost all of your problems.
  • Change is not an option, it’s a national imperative.

Q: What do you believe have been the most significant accomplishments or milestones for the 37 TRW during your tenure?

  • I am most proud of the lives we have impacted and changed for the better; ranging from entry level Airmen to instructors and permanent party. The enduring relationships and partnerships we have formed with our students at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy will forever serve as a big milestone for me. 

Q:  How do you envision the future trajectory of the wing is, and what role do you see it playing with the broader Air Force Mission?

  • The changes that we initiate with regards to culture and warrior ethos within the 37 TRW will rapidly percolate across the Air Force.  
  • We can’t solve all of the Air Force’s problems in the 37 TRW, but we can shape a force and build a foundation of critical thinkers filled with grit and excitement to be part of a championship team.

Q:  Looking back, is there a particular initiative or program within the 37 TRW that you are especially proud of advancing or implementing?

  • At the 737th Training Group, the implementation of Zero Week and the creation of a deliberate on ramp for trainees entering Basic Military Training was a beneficial long-term initiative. In addition to, establishing a streamlined naturalization process that has enabled over 1,000 new Airmen to become U.S. citizens.
  • At the 37 TRG, we advocated for and obtained funding in support of Military Working Dog program upgrades, as well as funding for basic technical training transformation efforts.
  • At DLIELC, I was proud of our English Language instructors' eagerness to teach Ukrainian students in preparation for follow on training at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz
  • At IAAFA, the Women, Peace and Security curriculum was fully implemented into all courses. The development of the first Defensive Cyberspace Operations Course in support of a U.S. Southern Command prioritized capability development requirement was another proud initiative that was implemented. 

Q:  Can you share a memorable moment or achievement from your time specifically within the 37 TRW that has had a lasting impact on you?

  • This wing is powered by people and I will never forget the feelings of pride shaking the hands of proud family members, the electricity during an Airman’s Run, the taste of grit while rucking with defenders, the magic between a military working dog and its handler, the excitement in the eyes of one of our foreign students when they have mastered English, and the spirit of camaraderie and pride in every “Viva IAAFA”!

Q:  How do you believe your experiences within the wing have prepared you for future roles or endeavors?

  • This opportunity has been the hardest, yet most humbling job I have ever had. It is the best possible job I could have had to prepare me for any future role. My experience has enabled me to fully understand and appreciate enlisted force generation.
  • You cannot truly understand the culture and foundational competencies of Air Force force generation and security cooperation without truly understanding how we train at the foundational level. This machine is huge, complex and necessary; it has enabled our Air Force team to be world class.  

Q:  As you transition out of your role, what aspects of the wings culture and mission do you hope to carry with you into your future endeavors?

  • I hope to continue to create an environment where every Airman has the opportunity to thrive. This is the starting point to all the magic that happens across the wing.

Q:  What do you think distinguishes the 37 TRW from other commands within the Air Force, and how has that influenced your leadership approach?

  • What distinguished the 37 TRW from any other command is 1) the enormity of the wing’s mission and 2) the trust and faith we put in mid-grade Non-commissioned officers to train the core cultural foundation of our Airmen, Partners and Allies, and they deliver EVERY time!

Q:  Finally, what legacy do you hope to leave behind within the 37 TRW as you conclude your service in this capacity?

  • I want people to believe in their fellow Airmen, be excited to their core about being a part of our U.S. Air Force and to never underestimate the ability of this team to make a difference.