JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The concept of Total Force Integration is simple – active duty, Reserve, and National Guard Airmen work together in support of the Air Force mission.
The 433rd Training Squadron is Total Force in action. The squadron, which falls under the 340th Flying Training Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, is comprised of Total Force Airmen who accomplish the basic military training mission — motivate, train and inspire the next generation of Airmen and Guardians with the foundation to deliver 21st Century Airpower.
When COVID-19 threatened to stop the basic military training pipeline in 2020, it was the 433rd TRS that came to the rescue. The 737th Training Group needed an additional line squadron to make their plan of “one squadron, same week of training” concept work. The 433rd TRS became that additional squadron.
“Every MTI assigned to the 433rd Training Squadron chooses to be here. The Reserve do not have a Developmental Special Duties program. We go out and recruit for these positions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Tamara Strange, 433rd TRS superintendent. “One of our proudest achievements has been sharing developmental and instructional experiences between active duty, Reserve and National Guard MTIs. We are family.”
Since standing back up in May 2020 and pushing flights independently, the squadron encountered operations and practices that were new or recently implemented in response to COVID.
One of the biggest changes was in the physical training program. Cardio Interval Training, or CIT, was designed to strengthen the lower extremities before adding the run portion of physical training. CIT was actually introduced before COVID, but its use was accelerated when leadership realized it was the perfect balance between safety measures and physical training. The program has lowered the number of bone density issues while maintaining a 98% final PT assessment pass rate for BMT trainees. CIT is a whole body workout along with cardiovascular benefits.
Other changes were made to drill to ensure adequate physical separation between trainees, and bringing the Army Air Force Exchange Services to the squadron to give trainees the opportunity to buy toiletries and personal items.
Reserve MTIs help Airman and Guardian trainees understand the broader Total Force picture.
“Trainees are generally aware that things are different, but this is ‘the norm’ for them. They haven’t experienced anything else so they’ve done fine,” said Lt. Col. Anthony Erard, 433rd TRS commander. “Our MTIs have also adapted and excelled, in spite of countless challenges they encountered.”
Along with the challenges of COVID the 433rd TRS also faced adversity during Winter Storm Uri, which brought record low temperatures, historic snowfall and power outages to the area.
“All members of the 433rd TRS active-duty and Reserve rose up to take on the challenge to continue to train, inspire and motivate its trainees,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Campbell, 433rd TRS Military Training Instructor. “Even though the base was comprised of mission-essential personnel and wanted to limit the amount of individuals transiting to and from base, this did not stop the course of actions and the volunteers from continuing the BMT mission.”
Along with eight other training squadrons that comprise the 737rd Training Group, the efforts of the 433rd TRS have directly contributed to the 96% graduation success rate within Basic Military Training amid a worldwide pandemic.