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Not Your Everyday Rodeo
by U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Matthew Lucht - May 18, 2015

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WICHITA, Kan. - The 184th Intelligence Wing held a rodeo during drill weekend in March 2015, but it wasn't the kind with cowboy boots and eight-second clocks. It was a one-stop training “rodeo” that helped Airmen gain skills in first aid and chemical/biological protection practices to ensure they are deployment ready.

“It's to get everyone warfighter ready, and this meets all the requirements that we don't do on computer-based training,” said Master Sgt. Brian Castillo, 177th Information Aggressor Squadron. “We actually have a hands-on portion where everyone is required to do a little bit on each section.”

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Schulte, volunteer instructor, 134th Air Control Squadron, teaches Airmen how to identify, cordon and secure unexploded ordinance during the ESR on March 7, 2015. The UXO training was one of many stations Airmen learned deployment and expeditionary skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Lauren Penney)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Schulte, volunteer instructor, 134th Air Control Squadron, teaches Airmen how to identify, cordon and secure unexploded ordinance during the ESR on March 7, 2015. The UXO training was one of many stations Airmen learned deployment and expeditionary skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Lauren Penney)

 The new training style is mandated by the National Guard Bureau and the organizers of the rodeo tried to make the experience as valuable as possible for the participants. The training was conducted at stations in two different buildings.

Airmen would spend about 15 minutes at each station, where they watched a short video or PowerPoint, saw a demonstration on the station's subject and then got some hands-on training with the equipment.

“Any training that you can get hands-on is worth more money than having someone sit at their desk clicking through computer-based training,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. William Stacey, 184th command chief. “The stations worked really well and the instructors did a great job.”

Airmen saw the immediate benefits.

“The classes are really detailed in the orientation of what we have to do,” said Master Sgt. John Bogart, Civil Engineer Squadron. “They are going through the very basics with the slides and then they are doing the hands-on portion with the troops. It is a really good program.”

The rodeo met the requirements of eight different training subjects in a four-and-a-half hour time period. The block of time took all morning to complete, but saved each Airman approximately five hours of additional training.

“It is time-consuming, but doing it all in one group instead of doing it from a shop-by-shop basis is better,” said Bogart, “especially being hands-on, because it really gets everyone involved with the training.”

Volunteers from across the wing pitched in to make this event successful.

“We have instructors from everywhere,” said Castillo. “They are from the 134th Air Control Squadron, Civil Engineer Squadron, the Medical Group, Security Forces Squadron, 161st Intelligence Squadron, the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron – basically, it is a lot of volunteers from across the wing.”

The entire focus of the training rodeo was getting the Airmen of the 184th IW ready to deploy at a moment's notice. Readiness is a top priority for Stacey and the wing.

“One of my focus points is readiness, and having all of this training done together allows us to be more relevant and mission ready,” said Stacey.

Organizers of the rodeo were extremely happy with how the training went and also heard feedback from participants.

“We have gotten nothing but positive reviews,” said Castillo. “They love the way that it was compressed, it saved time and still met all the requirements for the hands-on training. Our goal is to provide the best training in the Air National Guard, and to tell you the truth, we are already headed there.”

By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Matthew Lucht
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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