BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
As 2021 brings on the start of a new year, Airmen from the 38th Intelligence Squadron (IS) are planning for the future. With the many challenges this last year has provided, unique thinking and problem solving have been absolutely necessary.
Training, readiness and currencies have been on everyone’s mind and, furthermore, how to best address the issue. A few NCOs at the 38th have taken on the challenge and have been working tirelessly to face the problem with training head on.
Tech. Sgt. Rey, Staff Sgts. Pemberton and Wilson have been working towards becoming instructors to provide more training accessibility to the 38th IS as well as several active-duty intelligent squadrons at Beale Air Force Base, California. Since all three of them are reservists and Air Reserve Technicians, they know all too well the challenges of maintaining readiness and currency requirements during this pandemic while also figuring out how to appropriately conduct training.
During their day-to-day work, all three Reserve Citizen Airmen have been training active duty intelligence professionals alongside some members from the 38th IS during drill weekends. As they all have been working on the curriculum, materials, testing and presentations, they have noticed there have been various complications that the trainers need to overcome. One of the biggest challenges during the pandemic when it comes to classroom training, is the fact that the instructors cannot completely fill a classroom with students.
“Setting up a schedule that would allow for us to meet our deadline and get everyone trained up while still abiding by COVID-19 restrictions was, and still is, a huge challenge,” said Tech. Sgt. Rey. “Because of the pandemic, we cannot have more than 10 people in a classroom, so we must set up rotations of separate smaller classes. This affects our ability to train up the squadron quickly, but unfortunately it is a limitation that we simply have to live with.” Rey said.
The primary course the instructors have been working on focuses on what goes on at the Distributed Ground System ((DGS 2) site at Beale AFB and how that fits into the intelligence community at large. As someone who sat in this course myself, the knowledge and career experiences the instructors have to better add context to the training material and situations was nothing short of invaluable. They utilized subject matter experts and other intelligence professionals to help aid with some of the more nuance and technical aspects of the training so they could ensure we were getting the best information possible.
Going forward, the instructors hope to create more group-based training for members of the 38th IS, as well as some of the active-duty intelligence squadrons at DGS 2; the 9th and 13th Intelligence Squadrons.
Staff Sgt. Wilson is currently working on a new course that will address the shifting landscape at DGS 2.
“Right now, I am working on a brand new course that is going to address a lot of the feedback we have gotten from the past courses we taught. This new course is going to go a lot more in depth regarding the economic, socio-political and lifestyle facets of our Area of Responsibility,” said Wilson. “Since political science is something I am passionate about and enjoy researching, it is a great opportunity to use my skills and talents that will benefit everyone!”
One of the areas the instructors are focusing on to improve for the next set of courses is engagement.
“One of the biggest opportunities to improve the courses is to make them more engaging for the class such as introducing group based problem sets, have students share their (military intelligence) career experiences, and include more hands on exercises to keep the class engaged,” Rey said.
With the ever evolving landscape that is Air Force missions, having such talented leaders as Rey, Wilson and Pemberton, is insurmountable. Members of the 38 IS are incredibly grateful for their dedication to their members and the squadron’s mission. Stay Sharp!