Expeditionary Center instructors applying RODEO lessons learned to aerial port courses

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Who says instructors can't learn a few new things?

For two air transportation career field instructors at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's Mobility Operations School at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., they are taking lessons they learned during Air Mobility RODEO 2009, held in July, to improve their school's instruction.

Tech. Sgts. Rayshawn King and John Haynes, both career air transportation craftsmen teaching in the MOS' Air Transportation Branch, attended RODEO at McChord AFB, Wash., in July as part of the team from Air Mobility Command's Directorate of Analyses, Assessments, and Lessons Learned to assess items that could better improve operations in a host of AMC career fields and operations.

Mr. Gene Marquez, a program officer in the Lessons Learned Division at Scott AFB, Ill., who led the team at RODEO, said the people participating in the competition act within established guidelines and directives to complete operations safely, accurately and efficiently. With that in mind, he said a number of RODEO participants bring great ideas with them and the team is there to capitalize on those ideas.

"The lessons learned program is a conduit, channeling great ideas to Air Force leaders for possible dissemination throughout the mobility force," Mr. Marquez said. "We want to capture, without question, new ideas to share throughout air mobility and associated units. Many of the fresh ideas we see at RODEO can be integrated into effective standards across the board."

Some of those "across the board" integration areas are in the air transportation career field. This is where the Expeditionary Center is uniquely involved. Air transportation Airmen are trained at the center in basic and advanced theories of air transportation functions. Those functions include aerial port expediter, aerial port operations and joint inspector instructor qualification.

"It's beneficial to us because we can use the feedback we received from the competitors who have been deployed, and then apply it in the classroom at the Expeditionary Center," said Sergeant Haynes, who serves as course director for the USAF EC's Passenger Service Operations and C-17 Aerial Port Expeditor (Web-based) courses. "We can see what tactics, techniques and procedures are being used effectively in the field and pass it on to our students to help better prepare them for their day-to-day jobs as well as deployments.

Sergeant King, who is the course director for the Joint Inspector Instructor Qualification course at the Expeditionary Center, said the information he brought back from RODEO helps reinvigorate lesson plans for his course.

"Participation with the lessons learned team helped me identify some of the training requirements that are critical to the air transportation career field," Sergeant King said. "I can use this real-world training experience as testimony in improving and teaching my course."

Sergeant Haynes said he was able to learn from the "best aerial porters in the world" during his work at RODEO 2009. That experience, he added, will only help his future students.

"RODEO was the perfect time and place to get opinions and feedback," Sergeant Haynes said. "We could find out how the deployed environment compares to what they did for the RODEO events. In turn, being at the Expeditionary Center where 'Airpower...from the ground up' is our motto, we can better train aerial porters for what to expect in the expeditionary environment."

Sergeant King said the improved training environment can only bring about a "ripple effect" of learning for the air transportation community. "In my opinion, our aerial port units will benefit from our students sharing this knowledge with Airmen at their home units," Sergeant King said. "From there, that information can help prepare those units for future exercises and deployments."

(Note: The United States Air Force Expeditionary Center is the Air Force's Center of Excellence for advanced expeditionary combat support (ECS) training and education. Located on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., the USAF EC partners with Air Staff, Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center to provide a disciplined training process that assures the right skills are taught at the right time across the expeditionary enterprise.)