Accession pipeline entities meet on ‘Bridging the Gap’

  • Published
  • By Annette Crawford
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Nearly 100 attendees from across the accession pipeline gathered here Sept. 14-16 to give members of the training community an opportunity to cross-talk.

The idea to host the Bridging the Gap conference was borne from feedback and discussions at the Air Education and Training Command Senior Leader Conference, known as Gathering of the Torch, at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, in May.

“During our visit [at GOT] we discussed feedback on how the 37th Training Wing is doing in bringing in Airmen through Air Force Recruiting Service, graduating them from BMT, and then sending them off to tech training,” said Col. Rockie K Wilson, 37th TRW commander.

“This falls in line with one of our strategic plan objectives in institutionalizing a feedback mechanism between Basic Military Training, Technical Training and the Air Force Recruiting Service,” Wilson added. “We need to get continued feedback in terms of the trainees that we are producing. Up until now, we have either just deferred providing feedback to each other or given feedback only after experiencing some form of frustration. Most of the time it’s just a lack of communication and aligning expectations and reality.”

According to Chief Master Sgt. Michael R. Morgan, 37th TRW command chief, Bridging the Gap was designed to “synchronize expectations, outcomes, and feedback across the accession enterprise.” It pulled together elements from 2d AF, AFRS, BMT and technical training.

“Bridging the Gap allowed us the opportunity to discuss core processes, provide a formal venue and opportunity for cross-talk, and establish a formal feedback process throughout the enterprise to strengthen the teams that generate future generations of Airmen and Guardians,” Morgan said.

Planning and organizing the conference fell to Capt. Allegra Frolow, 331st Training Squadron flight commander, and Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Jackson, 37th Training Group, Military Training superintendent.

They built a schedule that included presentations from the pipeline principals, tours of BMT processing and the Airmen Training Complex, and attending a BMT graduation ceremony. The final afternoon featured inputs from the technical training units at the 17th, 81st, 82d and Special Warfare Training Wings, and the 37th and 59th Training Groups, culminating in a “way ahead” discussion led by Wilson and Morgan.

“It was rewarding to see the excitement this initiative created,” Wilson said. “Bridging the Gap aligned with AETC’s priority to ‘Cultivate an Environment of Excellence’ and 2nd Air Force’s vision of ‘delivering exceptional Airmen and Guardians who power the world’s greatest Air and Space Force.’ There is already talk of the next conference, which tells me we did the right thing by getting this off the ground.”

The colonel added that while the feedback is positive, he felt “we are just scratching the surface in terms of aligning the training pipelines through collaboration and cooperation. In time, we can have a huge impact on our current Strategic Competition efforts and pacing challenges by focusing on both agility in updating our training curriculum more rapidly and in terms of scalability with regard to the number of Airmen and Guardians we can produce on demand.”