Mass Ready Airman Training Day covers everything from gun safety to mental health

  • Published
  • By Britianie Teston
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 58th Special Operations Wing successfully implemented a new mass training approach that saved more than 2,461 man-hours for the Air Force Force Generation deployment model at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., April 5, 2024. In an effort to streamline readiness training and maximize mission efficiency, Ready Airman Training Day was designed to engage personnel in a more interactive and meaningful learning experience while saving valuable man hours.

The AFFORGEN model, first outlined in 2021, aims to increase deployment readiness and recovery of service members and equipment through a 24-month, four phase cycle. These six-month phases include Prepare, Ready, Available, and Reset, each with unique objectives and training.

While preparing the Ready Training Areas under the AFFORGEN model, the 58 SOW identified that a large amount of the training events would fall into Computer Based Training, which require a significant amount of man hours and computers. The impact that computer access and man hours would have on the mission was a concern for the wing, which made finding a good solution a necessity.

In an innovative move, the wing readiness managers created a station-based mass training day that would not only be more engaging and meaningful for personnel, but would also save a significant number of man hours.

“During our RAT Day, 653 personnel attended, saving more than 2,461 hours across the team here at Kirtland,” said MSgt. Tracey Gadell, 58 SOW wing readiness manager. “That’s valuable time returned to the mission.”

Coordination played a crucial role in the successful execution of RAT Day, with 58 SOW wing readiness managers working closely with wing leadership to identify training objectives, AFI requirements, and secure necessary resources to meet all AFFORGEN training requirements. Coordinating with the 377th Medical Group, Air Force Research Laboratory, and functional experts on Kirtland AFB, the 58 SOW was able to create a simultaneous, comprehensive hands-on training for each phase of the AFFORGEN model.

“I think this approach was critical in its method of execution. We stood down operations across the wing, established three large-venue training locations, and executed a morning and afternoon time-block to ensure we reached the maximum amount of people with the least amount of distractions,” shared Col. Joshua Jackson, 58 SOW deputy commander.

The dynamics of RAT day allowed members to be actively involved in their learning. For example, in the “prepare phase” station of training, students listened to briefings by subject experts who discussed topics from gun safety to legal resources to mental health. Members were then given opportunities to certify in hands-on field medical training, where they practiced using tourniquets, clearing airways and properly bandaging wounds on various body parts. This environment encouraged teamwork, curiosity and growth.

"The AFFORGEN deployment model is the first time in more than 20 years that the Air Force has changed the way it presents and generates forces. The evolving design was created to better help the Air Force understand how to deploy Air Force members and assets, improving readiness, communication and capabilities. The 58 SOW heard this message of innovation loud and clear.

The AFFORGEN and Ready Airman Training intent is clear. We need to be predictable, and we need to be ready when and if our nation calls on us,” Jackson said. “By executing these types of training events, we can ensure our Airmen receive high-quality readiness training, without distractions.”

As the Air Force continues to prioritize readiness and operational excellence, initiatives like RAT Day demonstrate the importance of continuous improvement, innovation and adaptation in training methodologies. By embracing new approaches and leveraging the expertise on and around Kirtland AFB, units like the 58 SOW are setting a new standard for readiness training in the modern Air Force landscape.