334th TRS "Gators" train, develop and inspire through heritage

  • Published
  • By Capt. Edwin Pratt and 1st Lt. Darrell Peebles
  • 334th Training Squadron
As commissioned officers assigned to the 334th Training Squadron, known around the 81st Training Group as the Mighty Gators, training and development are at the very core of our primary duties and competencies.

We have to do more than train and develop Airmen, though - we must inspire them.

And our heritage can take a starring role in that inspiration.

Upon arrival, we tell new Gators they're now assigned to the largest Defense Department command and control campus in the Air Force. The campus, called the Triangle, has big, multistory schoolhouses, and these Gators will attend class at Cody Hall.

Why do Keesler's training buildings have names? Simply put, they are named to inspire our Airmen. The namesakes of our schoolhouses, dormitories and other buildings serve as a lasting tribute to the sacrifice made by the named Airmen.

Knowing the history, circumstances surrounding their actions and facilitating communication about the duty history of our building's namesakes are a way to inspire our newest Airmen every day.

The late Capt. Howard Cody, a native of Gulfport, Miss., was killed on Nov. 24, 1963, while flying combat missions supporting the Vietnam War. His story demonstrates precision execution of his primary duties, professionalism, service before self, and making the ultimate sacrifice.

His legacy, his name on the outer walls of Cody Hall, marks the start of the place were all ground-based command and control training in eight different Air Force Specialty Codes begins.

These inspired Airmen provide combatant commanders with warriors to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Since the Vietnam War, Cody Hall has produced C2 battlefield Airmen in some of the Air Force's most decorated career fields - combat controllers and special tactics officers. Combat controller and special tactics Airmen use the skills learned and developed at Cody Hall and other training pipelines to bring the fight to the doorstep of those that intend to harm our nation.

This same mindset is shared by the more than 7,000 C2 warriors trained annually who come from our trained career fields. These graduates are inspired to provide critical C2 capabilities to the Air Force mission.

This technical training is accomplished by professional instructors, both military and civilian. A sense of pride and heritage is displayed in many of the hallways in Cody Hall. The aviation resource management team has spearheaded their career field's heritage hallway initiative that highlights the accomplishments and sacrifices of numerous ARM leaders. The goal of these instructors is to inspire and motivate the next generation of ARM warriors.

To further inspire its trainees, the 334th TRS pays homage to numerous C2 warriors through memorials and room dedications.

Airmen in nearly every C2 career field are honored in different fashions: Senior Airman James Hansen, an airfield management supervisor who died Sept. 15, 2010 while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, has a room dedicated in his honor for his selfless sacrifice and devotion to our nation. The squadron's conference room is dedicated to retired Col. Derrel L. Dempsey, who is recognized as the pioneer for the airfield operations officer career field. In front of Avery Manor, where C2 Airmen reside, there is a memorial that pays sobering homage to Airman 1st Class Antoine Holt. Holt was a command and control battle management operator who was killed on April 10, 2004 while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

These are just a few of the C2 warriors whose selfless acts of courage serve as a reminder that the cost of freedom and our way of life comes with great sacrifices.

There are many ways to inspire our Airmen. One way is by simply teaching them about the meaningful names on our facilities.

They exist to stimulate conversation, mentorship and reflection about those who have, in most cases, made the ultimate sacrifice.

Encourage and inspire your Airmen to learn, talk, and discuss the history of the name on your building.

Do you remember the name of your tech school building?

We bet you can, but can you develop and inspire future Airman with that knowledge? As commissioned Gators, we help ensure the men and women of the 334th TRS showcase our past, present and our future - all three will be used to inspire future C2 Airman to transition successfully from technical training to the operational Air Force. Cody Hall will continue to produce the next generation of mission-ready C2 warriors - highly trained, highly developed and highly inspired to answer our nation's call.

We salute Captain Cody for his dedication to duty, his sacrifice and his assistance in helping us inspire Airman now and into the future.

Gator chomp!