Changes underway in Air Force Training - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Changes underway in Air Force Training

December 8, 2006

Moody Air Force Base - In previous wars, Airmen with the U.S. Air Force typically participated in air battles and search and rescue operations.

But all that changed with the war in Iraq.  "Over the last several years, our missions in deployed locations have evolved and we're doing more and more missions outside the wire," says Col Les Martin, 23rd Mission Support Commander at Moody.

Because the changes we so abrupt, airmen received ground combat training from other military branches and often right before deployment.  "Because the army, up until the last couple of years has been the experts for missions outside the wire, we've been going to army installations for training," Martin adds.

Now the Air Force is adapting as well and has announced the creation of a Common Battlefield Airmen Training Program, or CBAT that will prepare airmen for the risks associated with wartime deployments.  "Basic medical training, day and night basic land navigation training, combative skills training," says Lt. Col John Bukowinski.

They training center would be located at one Air Force base, bringing in thousands of airmen from around the country each year.

Moody Air Force Base is one of three bases considered for the CBAT training location.  "It's a big deal and we're honored to be one of the three," Martin says.

The facility is still in the planning stages and the location of the program will be announced in January of 2008.

The two other bases in consideration are Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Moody already has a huge impact on Lowndes County's economy.  The new training mission would only increase that impact.

The base is one of the county's largest employers with more than 4-thousand airmen and 375 Civilian employees.

If the base is selected for the CBAT program, 14-thousand airmen from all over the country would come to Moody each year for a month of training.  An additional 800 airmen would be permanently stationed there.

This would greatly increase the economic impact the base has on the local community as well as make it the leading employer in the area.  "These people come in and buy homes, they have kids in the school system, they shop in our stores, they do business in our community so obviously that brings another added level to the economic impact," says Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman, Tim Carroll.

Additional airmen will also be coming to Moody next year when the historic flying tigers and 23rd wing relocate there.

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