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Writing history, one lesson at a time

Lt. Col. Timothy Purcell, 50th Operations Support Squadron commander, addresses 50 OSS members during the Space Training Transformation kick-off event at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, March 17, 2016. STT allows Air Force Space Command to quickly adapt its training courses in order to contend with a dynamic and rapidly evolving space environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Lt. Col. Timothy Purcell, 50th Operations Support Squadron commander, addresses 50 OSS members during the Space Training Transformation kick-off event at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, March 17, 2016. STT allows Air Force Space Command to quickly adapt its training courses in order to contend with a dynamic and rapidly evolving space environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When 50th Operations Support Squadron members were told the Space Training Transformation would be a historical milestone, they were left with questions.  "The military drives history on a daily basis," they thought.  "How would transitioning the responsibility for qualification training be historical?"

In April 2015, the squadron received a daunting task. Their task was easily understood, but daunting. In just six months, the responsibility for 50th Space Wing qualification training would transfer from Air Education and Training Command to Air Force Space Command. By Oct. 1, 2015, 50 OSS needed 10 brand-new courses ready for validation.

And so, on May 1, 2015, the 50 OSS began the long journey.  Its members, armed with a few loaned personnel from the space operations squadrons, charted a path ahead.  They assessed the knowledge an operator would need to combat the changing space environment and started creating new courses from the ground-up.

This undertaking was indeed historical. 

"This is definitely the first time the 50th Space Wing and Schriever Air Force Base have done qualification training," said Randy Saunders, 50 SW historian.

This means the 50 OSS now updates its courses to ensure the relevancy of the material.   Ultimately, STT allows AFSPC to quickly adapt its training courses in order to contend with a dynamic and rapidly evolving space environment.

For many 50 OSS members, STT meant working around the clock. 

"After coming home from work, the gears were still slightly turning," said 1st Lt. Forest Rathfon, 50 OSS.  "I ended up thinking of ideas at home and going back to work with them."

During a six month period, the 50 OSS kept writing, editing, reassessing and rewriting.  They produced lesson plans, presentations, tests, simulator scripts, question banks and course syllabi.  

"The astonishing thing is the OSS built these new courses from scratch while still providing its legacy mission support to the operations group, and we never missed a beat. That speaks volumes to the quality of the people in this unit," commented Maj. Samuel Oppelaar, 50 OSS director of operations.

Ten new courses were ready for validation Oct. 1, 2015.  New students underwent training through these new courses and provided feedback to the development team.

"These inputs have been valuable," said Staff Sgt. John Sutherland, 50 OSS.  "The students going through validation have helped refine the classes that start April 11." 

With the end of validation nearing, and the implementation of finished courses approaching, 50 OSS members now see some light at the end of the tunnel.  Overall, 2,049 products have been developed for STT.

Product development was only a piece of the orchestrated effort.  The 50 OSS Operations Support Flight coordinated with 50th Civil Engineer Squadron and 50th Space Communications Squadron.  Together, they delivered fully furnished, modern classrooms with computers, satellite models, TVs and Smart Boards.   Without the construction of these new classrooms, STT implementation would not be possible. 

"The success of the Space Training Transformation was a team effort. The ability to accomplish this mission in such a short amount of time speaks volumes of the character and motivation of all the men and women who made this possible," said Capt. Charday Caminero, Product Development Flight commander,

Even though the transformation of qualification training is near complete, another chapter in history will soon begin. The official start of classes under the new construct will begin April 11, 2016.  On this date, 10 new courses will be officially inaugurated, and 49 students will commence training.

"This is history in the making," exclaimed Caminero.
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