HomeNewsArticle Display

New AF unit activated to better train elite combat Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Thompson, at right, chief enlisted advisor for the Battlefield Airman Training Group, unfurls the BA TG guidon for Col. Ronald Stenger, incoming commander of the BA TG, left, and Col. Roy Collins, commander of the 37th Training Wing, right, during the group’s activation ceremony June 2, 2016, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. As a result, BA training, which is currently located across eight locations in seven states, will streamline the training pipeline to reduce costs, and lead to improvements and synergies in the process.

Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Thompson, right, the chief enlisted advisor for the Battlefield Airman Training Group, unfurls the unit’s guidon for Col. Ronald Stenger, the group’s incoming commander, left, and Col. Roy Collins, commander of the 37th Training Wing, during the group’s activation ceremony June 2, 2016, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. As a result, BA training, which is currently located across eight locations in seven states, will streamline the training pipeline to reduce costs, and lead to improvements and synergies in the process. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- For the first time in its history, the Air Force on June 2 activated a unit solely dedicated to train the service’s ground component at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The unit addresses the growing need for “fifth-generation warriors” who integrate air and ground operations on the joint battlefield.

“Our mission at the Battlefield Airmen Training Group is to select, train and mentor Airmen for global combat operations,” said Col. Ronald Stenger, the group’s inaugural commander and special tactics officer. “We will breed quiet professionals, infused with a warrior ethos and fueled by scholarship and innovation.”

Members of the group will consolidate and streamline training for the Air Force's conventional and special operations ground forces. These ground forces include combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weathermen and tactical air control party Airmen.

The group’s leadership aims to improve processes and programs across five pillars: recruiting; manpower and leadership; equipment; infrastructure; and curriculum. The effort starts with successful leadership forging and developing Airmen for the battlefield, Stenger said.

“Much like when the Air Force separated from the Army in 1947 to have Airmen lead airpower, this allows battlefield Airmen leaders to lead battlefield Airmen training across the entire enterprise,” Stenger said about the group’s activation.

The group, a subordinate unit of the 37th Training Wing, replaces the 342nd Training Squadron and will lead five new BA training squadrons set to be activated later this summer. The squadrons consolidate and organize already existing training courses under BA leadership. The units include three pipeline squadrons dedicated to each career field; one instructor qualification and prep course squadron including advanced employment training such as military free fall; and a support squadron.

Overall, the group is spread across eight geographically separated squadrons and detachments in seven states, including:

- 350th Battlefield Airmen Training Squadron: initial entry course at Lackland

- 351st BATS: pararescue training course at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

- 352nd BATS: combat control/special operations weather training course at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina

- 353rd BATS: tactical air control party training course at Lackland

- Detachment 1, BATG: training support squadron at Lackland

The activation of the group and the squadrons also aims to reduce costs and increase efficiencies across the pipeline to produce highly qualified battlefield Airmen. Now, trainees will permanently move from one unit to another as they complete training required by each individual squadron. Previously, a trainee would return to Joint Base San Antonio, which served as the hub between attending their lengthy schools. At any given time, there are between 1,000 and 1,500 Airmen in BA training; on average, only 20 percent of those trainees will graduate as a battlefield Airman.

“The Air Force is looking for special individuals to be part of our elite ground component as battlefield Airmen and special operators,” said Tech. Sgt. Mario Jaramillo, a top recruiter for battlefield Airmen in San Antonio. “We need confident, physically fit candidates who refuse to quit in the face of insurmountable challenge.”

Battlefield Airmen are the critical ground link between air assets and ground forces, according to Stenger. They are trained to operate as a ground component to solve ground problems with air power, often embedding with conventional and special operations forces. They also accomplish missions such as surveying a dry lake bed in Africa as an airfield, rescuing military personnel from behind enemy lines or calling in precision air strikes on enemies.

“This activation is more than an unfurling of a flag,” said Col. Roy Collins, the commander of the 37th Training Wing. “It serves as a notice to all who would do us harm that America is prepared to respond with highly trained, skilled warriors, always ready to answer their nation’s call.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
A #USAF #C130 became the first U.S. aircraft to drop #Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zon… https://t.co/ErD7kQrHck
#AirForce Pararescue #Airmen @BagramAirfield conducted flight medical training with the help of volunteers from the… https://t.co/qtcvk61eyC
RT @DeptofDefense: Some vets have four legs 🐕! @USAirForce Senior Airman Damion Morris and his partner Leonard test the waters at @Adventu
Master and apprentice were reunited during a surprise reunion. @USAFReserve @RobinsAFB_GA https://t.co/xThQGz3CTM https://t.co/8rHHe0Vtaj
#USAF Staff Sgt. Andre Gonzales launches Capt. Cody Wilton, #A10 #DemoTeam commander/pilot, out at San Bernardino I… https://t.co/Ce719kI7bw
Throughout #TridentJuncture18, @Spangdahlem_AB #Airmen of the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron have worked thro… https://t.co/xsrionmKlZ
"I arrived at Tyndall 36 hours after the storm, that's five hours in dog time." - #MilitaryWorkingDog IIsaac's stor… https://t.co/JT0JVx4sbt
RT @US_EUCOM: Flanked by @US_EUCOM Joint Color Guard, @POTUS makes #ArmisticeDay100 remarks at Suresnes American Cemetery on November 11, 2…
.@LukeAFB #K9 unit trained with @AZNationalGuard #Medics to familiarize themselves with giving dogs medical attenti… https://t.co/zVSMrUkucN
Reflections show us who we are. Strong, determined, lethal, always ready...we like what we are seeing.… https://t.co/zsWQwyMSj4
Originally known as “Armistice Day” to mark the end of WWI, #VeteransDay was officially established in 1954 by Pres… https://t.co/srjqsQD6FD
SOUND ON: Bells across the country will be tolling at 11 a.m. local time to mark the centennial of World War I & to… https://t.co/JyrdK1ZDnf
.@AirNatlGuard Aircrew Flight Equipment #Airmen help the176th Wing aircrew breathe easy. @JBER_newshttps://t.co/qh4fwPIoTi
#ICYMI: @ACC_Commander visited @TeamTyndall for the second time since #HurricaneMichael caused catastrophic damage… https://t.co/UdPGIsFW4S
RT @FallonTonight: Jimmy Fallon partners with @TMobile and uses a game of Whisper Challenge to reunite a military veteran with her active-d…
An #Airman tells her story of #surviving #domesticviolence and #abuse, overcoming pain for justice. @jointbasemdlhttps://t.co/pVWyNZPyVr
Happy Birthday to our sister service. #MarineCorpsBirthday https://t.co/8D0TIfyjRB
.@Macdill_AFB #Airman reunited with his wife and met his first child when he returned from #deployment.… https://t.co/TGjip4zZBA