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Air Education and Training Command
Air Education and Training Command.png
Air Education and Training Command emblem
Active 1 July 1993 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Major Command
Garrison/HQ Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
Nickname(s) AETC, also "The First Command"
General Robin Rand[1]

Air Education and Training Command (AETC) was established 1 July 1993, with the realignment of Air Training Command and Air University. It is one of the U.S. Air Force's ten major commands (MAJCOMs) and reports to Headquarters, United States Air Force. AETC is headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Its commander is General Robin Rand, with Lt. Gen. Douglas H. Owens as vice-commander and Chief Master Sergeant Gerardo Tapia Jr. as Command Chief Master Sergeant. More than 48,000 active-duty members and 14,000 civilian personnel make up AETC. The command has responsibility for approximately 1,600 aircraft.


AETC's mission is to "develop America's Airmen today... for tomorrow." The command recruits, trains, and educates Airmen for the United States Air Force.

Air Force Recruiting Service

AETC's mission begins with the Air Force Recruiting Service (AFRS), headquartered at Randolph AFB, Texas. AFRS comprises three regional groups and 24 squadrons with more than 1,400 recruiters assigned throughout the United States, England, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico and Guam. Recruiters in more than 1,000 offices worldwide recruit the young men and women needed as both enlisted airmen and commissioned officers to meet the demands of the U.S. Air Force.

Basic military and technical training

Second Air Force, with headquarters at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, is responsible for conducting basic military and technical training for Air Force enlisted members and support officers. The first stop for all Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command enlisted people is basic military training at Lackland AFB, Texas. More than 36,000 new airmen will complete this recently lengthened eight-and-a-half-week program each year. After completing BMT, airmen begin technical training in their career field specialties, primarily at five installations: Goodfellow AFB, Lackland AFB, and Sheppard AFB in Texas; Keesler AFB, Miss.; and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. and there are also cross-service schools such as Defense Language Institute, Calif and the Army Chemical School located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; also there is a new technical training institute at Joint Base San Antonio, TX which is known as Fort Sam Houston, TX for a couple of medical careers. Each base is responsible for a specific portion of formal technical training airmen require to accomplish the Air Force mission. Instructors conduct technical training in specialties such as aircraft maintenance, electronic principles, air transportation, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, personnel, intelligence, fire fighting, weather forecasting and space and missile operations.

Commissioned officers attend technical training courses for similar career fields at the same locations.

Second Air Force also conducts specialized training for military working dogs and dog handlers at Lackland AFB, Texas, for the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration. Additionally, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy at Lackland AFB, Texas, hosts more than 160 courses in aviation specialties, taught in Spanish, to students from 19 Western hemisphere countries.

Training in core values

In 1995, the Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall and the Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman approved the following core values for the United States Air Force:[2]

  • Integrity First.
  • Service Before Self.
  • Excellence in All We Do.

The Air Education and Training Command along with the USAF Academy are responsible for teaching these principles throughout the Air Force.

Flying training

Air Force pilot candidates begin with Initial Flight Screening (IFS). In IFS, civilian instructors provide up to 25 hours of flight instruction to pilot candidates.

Pilot candidates then attend either joint specialized undergraduate pilot training (JSUPT) or Euro-NATO joint jet pilot training (ENJJPT).

JSUPT students accomplish primary training in the T-6A Texan II at one of three Air Force bases – Columbus AFB, Miss., Laughlin AFB, Texas, or Vance AFB, Oklahoma; or in the T-6B Texan II at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida. Joint training is conducted at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and NAS Whiting Field, Florida for students from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. US Coast Guard student Naval Aviators and flight instructors are also incorporated in joint training at NAS Whiting Field, but not at Vance AFB. ENJJPT is located at Sheppard AFB, Texas. The entire course lasts about 54 weeks. Students learn with, and are taught by, officers of the U.S. Air Force and various European air forces. Student pilots first fly the T-6A Texan II mastering contact, instrument, low-level and formation flying. Next, they train on the supersonic T-38 Talon and continue building the skills necessary to become a bomber or fighter pilot.

During the primary phase of JSUPT, students learn basic flight skills common to all military pilots.

As of 2006, most JSUPT students use the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System during the primary training phase. The aircraft portion of JPATS is the T-6 Texan II, which is being phased in as the primary trainer replacing the Air Force's T-37 and the Navy's T-34C.

After the primary phase of JSUPT, student pilots elect one of several advanced training tracks based on their class standing.

Prospective airlift and tanker pilots are assigned to the airlift/tanker track, and train in the T-1A Jayhawk at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, Laughlin AFB, Texas, or Vance AFB, Oklahoma. Student pilots headed for bomber or fighter assignments are assigned to the bomber/fighter track, and train in the T-38 Talon at Columbus, Laughlin or Vance.

While some USAF student pilots will complete the airlift/tanker track in the T-1A Jayhawk and eventually fly the C-130 Hercules or its variants, other USAF students destined for C-130s will be assigned to a multi-engine turboprop track and fly the T-44 turboprop trainers or TC-12B trainers at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas in a cooperative arrangement between 19 AF and the Naval Air Training Command / Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). These USAF students will receive instruction from a combination of USN, USAF and USCG instructors at NAS Corpus Christi and will eventually fly the C-130 Hercules or its associated variants (AC-130, EC-130, HC-130, LC-130, MC-130, WC-130). A small number of USAF graduates may also be selected to fly the C-12 at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

Those USAF students selected to fly helicopters are assigned to the helicopter track and fly the UH-1 Huey at Fort Rucker, Alabama under a joint training arrangement with the US Army. USAF graduates of this program will fly the UH-1N Twin Huey, HH-60G Pave Hawk or CV-22 Osprey.

Air Education and Training Command also provides follow-on training for most Air Force pilots in their assigned aircraft. Pilots assigned to fighter aircraft complete the introduction to fighter fundamentals course at Randolph AFB or Sheppard AFB, Texas, flying the AT-38B, and then move on to train in either the A/B or C/D versions of the F-15 Eagle or the F-22 Raptor at Tyndall AFB, Florida., or the F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke AFB, Arizona. Altus AFB, Oklahoma, hosts training for aircrews assigned to KC-135 Stratotanker or C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, while an AETC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command conducts training for all Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-5 Galaxy aircrews at Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex, Texas. Aircrews assigned to fly the C-130 train at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, while aircrews assigned to fly MC-130 Combat Talon I/II, Combat Shadow, and HC-130 aircraft will take initial follow-on training at Little Rock followed by additional follow-on training at a colocated site with UH-1N Twin Huey and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crews and CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor crews at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Keesler AFB, Mississippi, provides training for pilots assigned to the C-21, while the US Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama provides training for USAF pilots in the C-12 Super King Air.

A T-43A of the 562d Flight Training Squadron taxiing at RAF Fairford, England

In addition to pilot training, AETC provides Combat Systems Officer and Weapons Systems Officer training, formerly known as Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT). CSO and WSO training are conducted cooperatively by 19 AF and the Naval Air Training Command / Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) at Randolph AFB and NAS Pensacola, Florida, respectively. Redesignated as Interservice Undergraduate Navigator Training (IUNT) when it was combined with similar aviation training programs of the naval services for student Naval Flight Officers (NFOs), this program is currently transitioning to an improved format known as Undergraduate Military Flight Officer (UMFO) Training. Under this arrangement, training is provided for all Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and international student navigators and flight officers. Students at Randolph AFB complete primary and intermediate training in the T-6 "Texan" and T45 navigation simulator, then track select as either panel navigators or Electronic Warfare Officers. USAF CSO graduates of Advanced Navigation then move to follow-on assignments in various aircraft, including the C-130 Hercules, MC-130 Combat Talon I/II and Combat Shadow, AC-130 Spectre and Spooky, HC-130, EC-130 Compass Call, EC-130 Commando Solo, LC-130, WC-130, B-52 Stratofortress, RC-135, E-3 Sentry (AWACS and E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS)), while their Naval Flight Officer counterparts are assigned to the land-based P-3 Orion, EP-3 Aries and E-6 Mercury, and will eventually fly the P-8 Poseidon . There are limited opportunities for USAF KC-135 Stratotanker navigators, as these positions are being phased out under the PACER CRAG program. Those who graduate as USAF Electronic Warfare Officers will go to follow-on assignments in the MC-130, AC-130, EC-130, RC-135 or B-52 Stratofortress.

USAF Weapons Systems Officer students obtain their training with a combination of USN, USMC and USAF instructors at Training Air Wing SIX at NAS Pensacola, Florida. They complete primary and intermediate training in the T-6A Texan II and T-1A Jayhawk aircraft, advanced training in the T-39 Sabreliner and T-45 Goshawk and then enter one of two tracks in the next phase. USAF WSO students in the strike track will eventually serve in the B-1B Lancer after attending the Electronic Warfare Officers course at Randolph AFB. Students in the fighter track will receive follow-on assignments in the F-15E Strike Eagle or EA-6B Prowler and attend special training in the Intro to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) course.

In most cases, USAF CSOs and WSOs will attend the same AETC formal training units (FTUs) for follow-on training as their pilot counterparts. The exceptions to this rule for all pilots, CSOs/WSOs and enlisted aircrewmen are those aircraft where the FTU falls under the claimancy of the Air Combat Command (i.e., A-10 Thunderbolt II, B-1 Lancer, E-3 Sentry, E-8 Joint STARS, F-15E Strike Eagle, RC-135, U-2 Dragon Lady, etc.), the Air Force Global Strike Command (i.e., B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress), or the Air Force Special Operations Command i.e., AC-130. AETC also provides enlisted aircrew training for a wide variety of aircrew specialties including flight engineers, air-to-air refueling boom operators, loadmasters, aerial gunners, airborne communications specialists and Air Battle Managers. Flight engineers and boom operators train at Altus AFB, Oklahoma., loadmasters train at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, helicopter flight engineers and aerial gunners train at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, airborne communications specialists train at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and Air Battle Managers complete Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training (UABMT) at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

Air University

Air University (AU), headquartered at Maxwell AFB, Alabama is commanded by Lieutenant General David S. Fadok and conducts professional military education (PME), graduate education and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members and civilians throughout their careers. Air University also has responsibility for all Air Force officer accession and training other than the United States Air Force Academy via AU's subordinate Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development (Holm Center), formerly the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools (AFOATS). As an AU activity, the Holm Center oversees the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), with detachments at numerous colleges and universities across the United States, and the Air Force Officer Training School (OTS) at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Air University's professional military education schools prepare students from the Air Force, its sister services and both NATO and other U.S.-allied nations as they progress through their careers. Emphasis in these programs includes leadership, military doctrine and aerospace power. The three primary PME schools are Squadron Officer School (SOS) an approximately two-month leadership development program primarily for USAF company grade officers (first lieutenants and captains); Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), an approximately year long joint "intermediate" service college program for officers of all services in the rank of (or selected for) major, Navy or Coast Guard lieutenant commander, other Allied military equivalents or US civil service GS-13; and Air War College (AWC), an approximately year long joint "senior" service college program for officers in the rank of (or selected for) lieutenant colonel, Navy or Coast Guard commander, other Allied military equivalents or US civil service GS-14. Air University also oversees the Air Force's two citizenship programs: The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a private, corporately chartered, civilian non-profit organization headquartered at Maxwell AFB and concurrently designated as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (USAF Aux). CAP is sponsored by the Air Force, but it is a civilian entity and not an operating Air Reserve Component (ARC) like the Air Force Reserve Command or the Air National Guard. Under its congressionally assigned missions, CAP provides aerospace education for youth and the general public; a cadet program for middle/junior high school, high school and undergraduate college students; and a fleet of general aviation aircraft, multipurpose vehicles, ground support units, communications support units and trained adult members with a USAF-style rank structure available in support of search and rescue, disaster relief, and other emergency services and homeland defense/homeland security activities. The CAP program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36. CAP is commanded by a Civil Air Patrol major general, functioning as a full-time employee of the CAP corporation at Maxwell AFB, overseeing 52 wings assigned to each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbua. The CAP commander is supported by an active duty aeronautically rated USAF colonel as the senior USAF-CAP Advisor.

The Air Force Junior ROTC program is a cadet program for high school students at more than 870 high schools in the United States and at Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) locations overseas. AFJROTC Instructors are retired USAF officers in the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel, assisted by retired USAF non-commissioned officers in the ranks of technical sergeant through chief master sergeant.

Both CAP and AFJROTC are subordinate to the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development (Holm Center). Other academic support services at Air University include Academic Instructor School, the Air Force Public Affairs Center of Excellence, the Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center (formerly known as Air University Library) and the International Officer School.

Medical services

The Air Force's two largest medical facilities belong to AETC: the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Texas, and the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Sheppard AFB, Texas provides most of the Air Force's graduate medical and dental education, as well as other enlisted medical training.


For a history prior to 1993, see Air Training Command

On 1 January 1993, Air Training Command absorbed Air University and changed the command designation to Air Education and Training Command (AETC). AETC assumed responsibilities for both aspects of career development: training and education. Missions such as combat crew training, pararescue, and combat controller training, and (later) space training transferred to the new command, so that airmen would report to their operational units mission ready. Restructuring the command assumed first place among the issues facing the command staff. The introduction of three new training aircraft, the Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk, Slingsby T-3 Firefly, and Beech T-6 Texan II (JPATS); joint training; and the closure of Chanute, Mather, and Williams Air Force Bases were major challenges.

In 1994 AETC adopted the Objective Wing Concept; stood up several wings responsible for crew training in the F-16, special operations, airlift, and space and missile operations; and began the first Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) and Joint-SUPT courses. Lowry Air Force Base was added to the list of AETC bases closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, followed by Reese Air Force Base in 1995. The transition to SUPT was completed in 1996, the delivery of the first JPATS aircraft in 1999, and the discontinuation of the controversial T-3 in 2000.

In response to the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, AETC went on a war footing, activating a Crisis Action Team and supplying both fighters and tankers from its wings for combat air patrols in American airspace as part of Operation Noble Eagle. An operational test and evaluation of JPATS began in 2002 at Moody Air Force Base and upgrades to its Training Integration Management System (TIMS) were begun the next year, targeting full implementation of JPATS in 2007.


Established as Air Corps Flying Training Command on 23 January 1942. Redesignated Army Air Forces Flying Training Command about 15 March 1942; Army Air Forces Training Command on 31 July 1943; Air Training Command on 1 July 1946; Air Education and Training Command on 1 July 1993.


See also


  1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Christensen, Sig. "Rice retires in Randolph ceremony - San Antonio Express-News". Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  2. USAF Academy, (2006). United States Air Force Core Values. Retrieved 5 September 2006.


  • Much of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Air Education and Training Command, website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource.

External links

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