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334th TRS partners with USM, strive to update curriculum

Command and control apprentice course instructors attend a zoom meeting inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 6. Students from the University of Southern Mississippi presented their project of solving how to make command and control training more engaging and accessible. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler)

Command and control apprentice course instructors attend a zoom meeting inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 6. Students from the University of Southern Mississippi presented their project of solving how to make command and control training more engaging and accessible. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler)

Command and control apprentice course instructors attend a zoom meeting inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 6. Students from the University of Southern Mississippi presented their project of solving how to make command and control training more engaging and accessible. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler)

Command and control apprentice course instructors attend a zoom meeting inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 6. Students from the University of Southern Mississippi presented their project of solving how to make command and control training more engaging and accessible. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Spencer Tobler)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The 334th Training Squadron collaborated with the University of Southern Mississippi to come up with an innovative way to teach the command and control students here. USM students presented their solution via Zoom to the instructors of the Command and Control Apprentice Course, May 6.

This was organized to ease the transition from the classroom to the simulated command post.

“There were Airmen who would have trouble grasping the ability to make critical decisions when they were down in the simulator,” said Desirae McIntyre, 334th TRS Command and Control Apprentice Course instructor supervisor. “We wanted to find a way where they could still have tools available in their dormitories to enhance their critical thinking skills.”

In order to improve graduation rates and save the Air Force money, the 334th submitted their issue through the Hacking 4 Defense program which is a program tailored to solving national security problems.

H4D designates top tier universities to solve the problems they are presented with. University students have one semester to work on a solution for the problem and present it. The students assigned to the task and the organization with the issue benefit from this program.

“The USM students were allowed to learn different inner workings of the military as well as enhance their ability to communicate with people on a professional level,” said McIntyre. “On the other hand, we’ll be able to see their project’s outcome be put into action within our schoolhouse.”

The outcome they came up with was to have an app developed through the small business innovation research program. The app will simulate different command post scenarios to give the Airmen-in-training an idea of what to expect when they arrive to their duty station.

“I see this app as something not only the students can utilize, but everyone in the career field can use for training,” said McIntyre. 

With this app in place, the 334th TRS is hoping to see a decrease in failure rates and Airmen who are more coherent in a career field that is vital to Air Force readiness.

“Operationally, we have a very wide variety of tasks that we need to accomplish,” said Tech. Sgt Richard Norgard, 334th TRS command and control journeyman manager. “We have only 30 academic days to teach these students everything they need to know before they go out to their first duty station. It’s very important for us to utilize the short amount of time that we have and make it a rich experience.”