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Why we train

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The military has adopted many forms of job training over the years, including on-the-job, annual certifications and computer-based modules.

However, the first step to becoming a usable asset to the Air Force is completing a technical training course. Certainly everyone serving in the Air Force, or any branch of service for that matter, recalls their technical training -- excitement before the first day; the trepidation before a big test; the careful inspection of a uniform before bedtime; and the home stretch before graduation and joining the operational Air Force.

Many of us, who have long since completed formal training, may have forgotten these feelings of excitement and anticipation. Some of us never forget and regularly compare the present with the past, dishing out stories that begin with "back when I was in tech school..."

For all of us though, our past technical training accomplishments are captured in only a few lines on our records; simple proof that we are certified to do our jobs. In this fast paced and continuously changing Air Force environment, rarely do we look back at what it took to get us here and why it is important; instead, we are constantly looking ahead to the next step in our careers.

For a moment, step back and consider the importance of training and what we all do here at Keesler.

On Oct. 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated. It is inscribed with words that represent what America is to many people: a land of opportunity, security and freedom. We, as Airmen, are in the business of protecting those basic human rights, as expressed in the Air Force mission to fly, fight, and win in air, space and cyberspace. As Americans we've held strong to the belief of inalienable rights long before the Air Force existed and long before Lady Liberty stood watch over Ellis Island. It is our job to protect and ensure that belief continues, and it begins with training.

Technical training for many Air Force careers is the foundation of skills and knowledge that an Airman will use during their service. Faced with a problem, an individual need only look back at the basics: the tricks a savvy instructor taught, the list of important Air Force instructions where every answer can be found, reaching out to an old tech school friend for advice and so forth.

These situations and others like them occur every day in the training wing. Presently, this training helps young Airmen grow, and at one point, helped all the permanent party members on this base develop the necessary skills to be successful at their jobs. What only takes up a few lines on our recordsĀ  encompasses the fundamental skills and knowledge we unconsciously use each day.

With those fundamentals from technical training in place, we then continue to develop our skills further with on the job training and supplemental courses like the medical group's phase II training. The key is to create a good foundation, then build upon it. That is what we do at Keesler; some of us lay the foundation while others build on it. If we stop training, we stop being effective. If we stop being effective, we will fail at our mission.

It is clear that the Air Force mission is unattainable without properly trained Airmen to carry out their respective jobs. Training is a simple concept with a profound impact; it is the necessary foundation to flying, fighting, winning, and ultimately ensuring freedom in America.