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New course trains deploying Airmen

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg began providing deploying Airmen with intensive expeditionary combat skills training. Thirty-nine Airmen from the 30th Space Wing, 381st Training Group and 576th Flight Test Squadron began the 13-day training July 31 in the base theater. 

The training is essential for the many Airmen who find themselves tasked with different missions than they have historically served. As the Air Force transforms, the Airmen will receive the kind of training they need to meet the challenges of fighting the dynamic war on terror. 

"Now, we're out there pounding the ground just like the Marines and the Army," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kaplan, 30th Civil Engineer Squadron Combat Airmen instructor, one of a cadre of 15 Airmen and Soldiers teaching the two-week course. 

Some of the cadre will be Army Reserve instructors who have firsthand insight into Army requirements in the field. Airmen will learn Army-specific training, communication skills and procedures, along with traditional pre-deployment training such as weapons familiarization and emergency first-aid. 

As more and more Airmen begin to replace Soldiers in the area of responsibility, Vandenberg leads Air Force Space Command in sending Airmen to fill Army taskings. By replacing temporary duty training at Army facilities with home station instruction, Airmen receive the same training without the excess cost or time away from home. 

Instructors have found Airmen learn advanced skills in the deployed environment better when they have this kind of training, said Capt. Zachary Moore, Combat Airmen officer in charge. "This gives them more tools in their toolbox," he said, especially since people returning from deployment can provide inputs about what's currently happening in the AOR, providing the Airmen with current information and training. 

If the wing decides to continue the program, CST would become a permanent part of Vandenberg. Deploying Airmen could complete their training at their home station.