37th TRW takes over aerospace physiology training program
WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The 37th Training Wing took responsibility of the 344th Training Squadron Detachment 2 Aug. 25, after an official transfer authority from the 711th Human Performance Wing.
Specifically, the 37th Training Group, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, will be executing the technical training mission.
Detachment 2 has three missions:
- Provide Air Force Specialty Code courses – meaning it is a formal technical school for aerospace physiology officers and technicians.
- Provide acceleration training for all fighter aircrew.
- Provide aerospace physiology initial and refresher training for all aircrew, both enlisted and officers.
The detachment provides training to 68 agencies, 24 states, and 40 countries, averaging about 2,100 students each year. Students include prior and non-prior service, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, Department of Defense civilians, and international students.
The training covers classroom academics and hands-on training with two training altitude chambers, the Department of Defense’s only centrifuge, and a reduced oxygen breathing device. The centrifuge serves two purposes – to test future fighter aircrews’ ability to endure high gravitational forces and to research the effect of high gravitational force on human physiology, with the research mission accomplished by the 711th HPW.
“It was an outstanding day for the Gateway Wing and the 37th Training Group because our family of Airmen is growing again,” said Col. John Goodson III, 37th TRG commander. “The Gateway Wing, led by my boss Col. Lauren Courchaine, is truly a phenomenal and one-of-a-kind wing. We are a training machine and that’s why we are a perfect match for Det 2, their fantastic team, and their unique training mission that focuses on the stress that modern aviation places on the human body.”
Historically, administrative and operational control of the aerospace physiology career field fell under the Air Force Surgeon General. In the late 1990s, it was determined that aircrew training could not be funded by Defense Health Program funds. Eventually, the funds to execute the training programs were transferred to the Air Force Directorate of Operations. However, the recruitment and development of personnel remained under the AF/SG.
According to Lt. Col. Christianne Opresko, 344th TRS Detachment 2 commander, in 2007, an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century Event recognized numerous programmatic disconnects associated with the aerospace physiology enterprise.
“Between 2007 and 2017, there was an increase in flight physiological events in various tactical aircraft,” Opresko said. “In response, Congress directed a look to determine how the Air Force trains aircrew, as well as how the Air Force acquires its aircraft systems for use. This led to the formation of the Air Force Physiological Events Action Team.”
The AFPEAT and the aerospace physiology enterprise had three recommendations:
- Consolidate the remaining funding of the aerospace physiology program from AF/SG funding to Air Force Directorate of Operations funding, specifically to recruit, access, and develop the people.
- Properly align the aerospace physiology enterprise with the requirement owner (Air Force Directorate of Operations).
- Increase aerospace physiology aircrew breathing system and aircrew performance knowledge by integration of aerospace physiology personnel in direct weapons system support roles.
On June 17, 2021, acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., signed a Program Action Directive with the following objectives:
- Consolidate aerospace physiology enterprise under Air Force Directorate of Operations funding.
- Re-align the personnel and organization entities with the requirement.
- Correct the expertise gap identified by the AFPEAT.
- Transition aerospace physiology officer and enlisted personnel to new Line of the Air Force AFSCs.
Additionally, the PAD directed Air Education and Training Command, in conjunction with medical career field managers, to task formal training requirement from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 711th HPW, to AETC.
This is the second aerospace physiology training program that falls under AETC, with the other one located at JBSA-Randolph, Texas, under the 12th Operations Support Squadron.
The 37th Training Group has four geographically separated units which are located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Lee, Va.; Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and Port Hueneme, Calif. The group is responsible for instructing 25 officer and enlisted AFSCs and teaching over 130 courses.