Once an Air Advisor, Always an Air Advisor

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ashley Hyatt
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

If you love your job and enjoy mentoring and training others, becoming an air advisor might be for you.

Airmen in any Air Force Specialty Code can apply to become an air advisor.  Air advisors work with partner nations to develop their aviation enterprises using the skills they already have as an Airman.

“Air advisors are trained to do five core functions: assess, train, advise, assist and equip,” said Jack Smith, the Air Advisor Flight chief with the 423rd Mobility Training Squadron. “They go around the world to our partner nations with the message of: We are the United States Air Force, is there anything we can do for you?”

Airmen selected for this opportunity receive their training from the Air Advisor Flight, part of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Operations School (EOS) at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, where they learn core knowledge and skills along with language, region and cultural training for the specific location they will be assigned.

“The skills Airmen learn through our [Community College of the Air Force] accredited program combined with the skills they already have, allow these Airmen to go and do the advisor mission,” said Smith.

Senior Master Sgt. Alan Reed, 305th Maintenance Squadron superintendent and Air Advisor C course student, said he feels the language and culture training is crucial and will help him establish rapport with host nation partners to successfully do the job as an advisor.

Students leave training with an air advisor tab that can be worn on their uniform permanently and a Special Experience Identifier which allows them more opportunities to continue supporting the air advisor mission in the future.

“When you wear this tab, it is known that you are part of an elite group,” said Col. Mona Alexander, EOS commander, “and you are joining a respected community of advisors with special skills.”

There are two ways to become an air advisor. One, you may get tasked for an air advisor deployment,  or two, you can volunteer on Equal Plus to be part of one of two Mobility Support Advisor Squadrons at JB MDL or Travis Air Force Base, California, that are part of the 621st Contingency Response Wing. There are also air advisor flights assigned to contingency response units in Guam and Germany.

The 621st CRW falls under the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center and directly support its mission of: Airpower…From the Ground Up!

Contingency response is part of the USAF EC’s mission and air advisors aid contingency response forces in setting up bare bases in nations where air advisors have been previously.

“Contingency response units often deploy in the footsteps and benefit from the relationships that advisors have built in years past,” said Smith. “Air advisors are a large part of the National Defense Strategy and the Department of Defense priorities of building partnerships and strengthening alliances.”

Smith said the feedback from students is almost unanimous that it is the best job that they have ever had due to the strategic level impact they have while doing their day-to-day duties.

Ken Arteaga, EOS deputy director and former Dean of the Air Advisor Academy who served as a combat aviation advisor for Air Force Special Operations Forces, also agrees, “When I was an advisor, it was the most rewarding work I’ve ever done, because every situation and mission is so unique and important that you build a lot of comradery with your fellow advisors.”