Airmen’s Week: Transition from trainee to Airman
By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
/ Published June 17, 2015
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Capstone Week officially changed its name to Airmen’s Week May 11, to better reflect the training and trainee mindset expected of the week following basic military training.
“The name Capstone Week was a working title,” said Kevin Adelsen, the Air Education and Training Command Airmen’s Week program manager. “The name change does not mean a change in strategy. It symbolizes a trainee’s transition from basic military training to earning the title of Airman.”
During the inaugural week of Capstone, Airmen and training staff were polled for ideas. The top five names were given to Gen. Robin Rand, the AETC commander, who chose the final name.
Col. William Fischer, the 737th Training Group commander, said the new name mirrors the training and mentality of the Airmen who graduate from the course.
“The name Airmen’s Week reflects the idea that the week belongs to the Airmen as they go through the program,” Fischer said. “We encourage them to take ownership of their first professional military education experience.”
More than 7,000 Airmen have attended Airmen’s Week since it began on March 23 and the feedback from the Airmen has been very positive.
“Airman after Airman has stated that they feel better equipped for the challenges of the Air Force after taking the course,” Fischer said. “However, the Airmen have also made suggestions to improve the training. We take that feedback very seriously because it helps us identify where we need to refine lessons to reach our target audience.”
Fischer explained that the addition of Airmen’s Week is one of the first steps in implementing the chief of staff of the Air Force’s broader culture of excellence initiative.
“We created an opportunity to enhance Airmanship skills in a post-BMT week, focused on character development,” Fischer said. “BMT teaches them what they must know, be able to do and how to behave. Airmen’s Week teaches them to think critically. The course strengthens their resilience and makes them more self-aware.”
Brig. Gen. Trent Edwards, the 37th Training Wing commander, said Airmen’s Week is helping to change the culture of Airmen and shaping the future of the Air Force.
“Airmen’s Week reinforces the fact that an environment of professionalism, dignity and respect is absolutely mission critical,” Edwards said. “Ultimately, we hope to give our Airmen the strength, character and resiliency to make decisions that are consistent with our Air Force core values. The goal of Airmen’s Week is to produce more professional, resilient Airmen, inspired by our heritage, committed to the Air Force core values, and motivated to deliver airpower for America.”
Fischer added that through this educational construct, Airmen are given opportunity to self-reflect and self-actualize in order to internalize the Air Force core values.
With Airmen’s Week focused on character development, measuring success of the program isn’t as quick and easy as a grading a written exam.
“Our measure for success is not a test score this week, but better Airmen for the operational Air Force,” Fischer said. “We look forward to feedback from the field on how the program is doing.”
Fischer said that Airmen’s Week helps AETC stay committed to ensuring the Air Force has the finest, highly disciplined, educated and critically thinking warriors in the world.