RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
More than 3,700 people attended the 2010 Air Education and Training Command Symposium held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio last week, the largest showing to date.
The symposium featured nearly 100 academic seminars on a variety of Air Force topics, a technology exposition hosted by the Alamo chapter of the Air Force Association and a formal ball.
Col. John Thompson's seminar on social networking for the Air Force was filled to capacity and then some. His hour block discussed how the Air Force continues leveraging industry for systems, services and best practices for professional networking and social learning adapting them to the Air Force learning environment.
"You will see folks saying things like, 'Hey I'm deploying,' or 'I'm deployed and getting ready to go out on a mission,' and if the enemy can see that type of information they can take advantage of it," Colonel Thompson said. "So we need to train them (Airmen) not to do that."
In addition to the symposium, Airmen viewed and interacted with more than 100 vendor and unit demonstrations at the AFA Exposition including medical operating room displays, helicopter training simulations, remotely piloted aircraft presentations and many more.
Tech. Sgt. Christian Bolduc, Air Force Recruiting Service motor sports noncommissioned officer, was at the expo to show off the Air Force supercar and other recruitment tools.
"Basically what we're trying to do is show kids in today's society that there is more to the Air Force than just flying airplanes," Sergeant Bolduc said.
The making of the Air Force's newest national mobile marketing assets, the X-1 and Vapor, can also be seen in a 22-minute documentary featured at www.airforce.com/supercar.
Other displays included more hands-on programs like a C-130 airdrop simulation designed by Lockheed Martin showing how the front end crew and back end of the aircraft are able to communicate and operate in a simulated environment that they've never been able to do before outside the actual aircraft.
When the seminar rooms emptied out and the exhibit hall was drawing to a close Jan. 15, more than 1,000 people attended the AETC Ball, the command's largest formal event of the year.
The remaining five U.S. Air Force Medal of Honor recipients, who were honored for valor during the Vietnam War, were recognized for their heroic actions and the sacrifices they made to ensure America's freedom. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, offered the keynote speech complementing the rare occasion in which all five members were gathered together.
"This year's symposium was truly a world-class event and we have the entire staff and attendees to thank for it," said James Sturch, AETC symposium event director. "We continue to receive positive feedback and are already gearing up for the 2011 symposium which should only get bigger and better."