Airmanship 200 Course stresses foundational competencies like communication, resilience and accountability

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82d Training Wing

As the Air Force’s largest technical training operation, the 82nd Training Wing serves as the bridge for nearly half of all new recruits to go from newly minted Airman to fully mission-capable Airman.

But “fully mission-capable” requires more than just technical competency--it also demands that Airmen embrace foundational competencies like communication, resilience and accountability.

To help them build those competencies early in their careers, the wing recently launched the Fully Mission Capable Airmanship 200 curriculum to augment technical training with the critical life skills Airmen need to succeed. The course, which replaces the previous version of Airmanship 200, was created under the mandate that it had to be developed without requiring additional funding or impacting training.

The 82nd TRW Chaplain Corps, led by Chaplain Col. Rolf Holmquist, accepted the challenge, and created a program that addresses character development, social skills, stress management and physical health to build the stability necessary for more resilient Airmen. According to Holmquist, developing these qualities is as important for mission readiness as technical training.

“If you walk out of here and you only know how to do your tech trade, you're not fully mission capable,” he said. “But we could work with your core and build you up and give you some stability. Then when you leave and you face adversity, you're more likely to withstand the storms and do a better job.”

The course has already been implemented at three squadrons, including the 366th Training Squadron. Lt. Col. Nicollette Borgstrom, commander of the 366 TRS, supports the initiative and facilitated a module about character-building. In her previous role as a squadron commander on an operational base, she realized many young Airmen needed additional help with finding productive coping mechanisms as well as critical thinking skills. She sees this course as a way to introduce these concepts before a minor problem becomes a crisis.

“I think it ultimately comes down to a couple of things, building risk-resilient human beings that are better equipped to handle crises of any sort,” she said. “Because we need them ready, especially now. Nobody knows what tomorrow brings. And so, we are equipping them, providing them with tools and thought processes and challenging them to be critical thinkers so that when the time comes, they're getting mental reps in to prepare for some stressful things.”

Tech. Sgt. Aubrie Jones, Military Training Leader, volunteered to facilitate the course. At her previous duty station in Germany, she observed young Airmen who struggled as they navigated living more independently. She said the FMC Airmanship 200 modules provide classes that are more in-depth and relevant to the challenges faced by many young Airmen.

“They can take all these skills and apply them,” she said. “One of the biggest things that I think will be improved immediately is that I'm communicating with these Airmen, telling them that it's important to recognize problems and communicate. Then, at their first duty station, instead of struggling they can go ask for help. They know that it's out there. They know that they don't have to struggle by themselves. So, if I can at least get them to recognize the problems, then they are hopefully more comfortable asking for help for a solution.”

The FMC Airmanship 200 course is still in an assessment period with continuous updates and improvement. It is slated to be fully implemented mid-2024.