What is the most useful way to train an Airman? Using career development courses? What about using knowledge that one has gained from working at their home station?
Maj. Andre Senay, 56th Training Squadron air-to-air subject matter expert, and Maj. Ryan Savageau, 310th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations, use what they have gained from deployment and being downrange to help student pilots prepare for the Combat Air Force.
“We try to make the scenarios as real as possible from what we’ve learned downrange,” Senay said. “We try to simulate how all the pieces work together.”
Prior to going downrange, the pilots will go through predeployment training.
Both pilots went through ground and flight training prior to their deployments. They had to perform things such as combat survival, evasion and other related tactical training during the combat training.
In the flight portion, there are skill sets that each pilot will need to be trained on such as specific kinds of attack, following a convoy and different ways to attack using a bomb.
When the pilots were deployed, they often performed duties such as providing close air support to troops on the ground.
“We would typically take off with preplanned missions to support the Army, but inevitably due to real-time events, they would change or go away, so we would have to be very flexible,” Senay said. “If we didn’t have a specific mission, we would look at roads for improvised explosive devices, or provide armed overwatch.”
Senay left with more than just flight experience from his deployment as a pilot.
“I gained a lot of experience in close air support,” he said. “I also gained an appreciation of what goes into the joint missions, because it’s not just me and my F-16. I am just one piece of the puzzle supporting the troops on the ground.”
Being in a deployed location has helped the pilots bring back a wealth of knowledge to help the pilots who train here at Luke.
“When you deploy downrange, everything is real,” Savageau said. “We’ve been able to take what we learned in combat, bring the scenarios back here and use them to train the student pilots.”