By the time they graduate, each airman is issued between $12,000 and $15,000 in equipment that goes with them to their first assignment. They get boots, body armor, dive suits, extreme cold weather gear, helmets, load-bearing vests and protective equipment.
The training and equipment get put to the test during the last few months of training when the students use all of their newly-acquired skills in a major exercise.
“We’ve had them secure the NCO club during Sunday brunch,” Calvin said. “And people didn’t even know what was going on.”
The premise of the program is “warriors training warriors.” The instructors train with high expectations of the students. The idea is that some day these airmen will have to be there for their buddies, so it’s essential that they know the ropes.
“I sweat with these guys; I bleed with these guys,” Calvin said. “They’re the ones willing to die for you. It builds a bond stronger than the one you had with your friends back home.”
There’s no easy way to prepare someone to fearlessly advance into harm’s way. It takes a mindset most people can’t fathom. But for those with the aptitude and attitude, advanced skills training equips tomorrow’s combat controllers.
“The students we’ve graduated are at about the same level as I was my fourth or fifth year on the team,” Greg said. “They’re already ahead of some of the guys who’ve been on teams for more than two years.”
Derek compares being a combat controller to a being a football player who practices for a championship game.
“After two years of being equipped with tools, we want to use them in the game,” he said. “To be able to defend our country using our training would be unbelievable.”
Article Courtesy of Airman's Magazine