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NEWS | April 25, 2008

Command Day gives CSOs a better perspective of their mission

By David DeKunder Staff writer

Base navigators got a preview on what they can expect from their first assignments after completing their training during Randolph's Semi-Annual Command Day April 18. 

Command Day featured a series of presentations, briefings and displays put on by the 562nd and 563rd Flying Training Squadrons at the base theater and at the base's south flightline ramp. 

The day is set aside for combat systems officers, naval flight officers, electronic warfare officers and their spouses and allows students to talk to instructors about aircraft operations, base facilities and quality of life issues that would accompany the assignments the students chose to take. 

The student navigators also got to look at the static displays of five aircraft located on the south flightline ramp -- the C-130E from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., HC-130P from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., KC-135 from Altus Air Force Base, Okla., HC-130P from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and RC-135 from Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., were all in attendance. 

Capt. Steve Wilson, 12th Operations Group Command Day representative, said Command Day helps student navigators better understand what they will go through once they chose to be assigned to a specific aircraft or base. 

"Command Day gives those student navigators who have not been assigned already a chance to make a better informed decision on where they would fit the best," Captain Wilson said. "For those students who have already received their assignments, it is the first time they will get up close to the aircraft they will be assigned to." 

Approximately 200 to 300 student navigators and their spouses took part in Command Day. A one-hour spouse's briefing was held after the aircrew briefing to give spouses a better picture of how life will be once their active-duty husbands and wives start their navigator assignments. 

"The spouses were invited to all the briefings, including the aircrew ones," Captain Wilson said. "Some of the instructors' spouses volunteered to answer any questions the student navigators spouses may have had. We have these briefings for the spouses so we can give them a better idea of what a particular assignment will be like. It is a decision student navigators and spouses have to make together. Command Day gives them the option of determining what assignment will be the best for their family." 

Second Lt. Dmitry Nedelin, 563rd FTS EWO, said he attended his third Command Day at Randolph last week. 

"Command Day gave me an opportunity to narrow down what I wanted to do coming out of school," he said. "It gave me the opportunity to talk to people about the current operational environment. You get the most up to date information from the navigators." 

"Command Day gives you a better perspective of how your role fits in the bigger mission," Nedelin said. "It gives navigators an opportunity to know what they are getting into. This program is good for the Air Force and the Air Education and Training Command."