Military News

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

NY ANG creates more training opportunities for Airmen

by Tech. Sgt Brandy Fowler
107th Airlift Wing

3/3/2015 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- The 107th Airlift Wing hosted an Instructor Certification Program here recently with 16 New York Air National Guardsmen attending in order to become facilitators for Professional Military Education courses.

The program lasts 10 days and is taught by instructors from the I.G. Brown Training Center at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The course content is designed to prepare non-commissioned officers to facilitate Air Force PME classes at their home station, which are referred to as satellite courses. This will help the unit cut travel costs and increase efficiency.

PME is important to Airmen because it requires members to continue their education during their careers and to develop skills to become effective leaders and supervisors. Airmen are required to gain an understanding of their positions in the military structure and the importance of fostering a commitment to the profession of arms. The training is required for each tier of enlisted ranks and must be completed with a passing score to advance.

This training comes on the tail of the recent change of command at the 107th. Col. Robert Kilgore took the reigns as the 107th's new Wing Commander in February. He has emphasized that PME is of utmost importance for unit members to accomplish.

"In order to ensure our Airmen could compete for jobs and promotions on equal footing, we needed to make sure PME was not holding them back", says Kilgore. "The Guard has had a difficult time getting our young Airmen into Airman Leadership School in the past and we needed a solution to that problem."

New York State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Rich King, was looking for ways to increase the availability of professional development for Airmen across the state. He, along with the 107th Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Philip Tavenier, came up with a solution.

"We can train our own people and offer PME classes they need to advance their careers," said Tavenier. "We want our people to have the same advantages so we are going to train our [non-commissioned officers], here in Niagara Falls, to lead our Airmen forward."

The 107th has a history of resiliency. The unit is currently transitioning to a new mission, flying the Air Force MQ-9 Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft. The unit previously flew the Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and before that, the Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

Members from the 107th also respond to New York State emergencies and have been readily involved in Operation Lake Effect Storm as well as Hurricane Sandy and Irene relief efforts over the past few years.

The 107th shares a base with the 914th Air Reserve unit, who is scheduled to host an Air Show in July. There will be a MQ-9 on static display during the show and will serve to educate the community on the mission of this new aircraft and its many capabilities.

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