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Instructors from 359th TRS hold inaugural F-35 Fundamentals Course

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82d Training Wing

In a move that shaves 23 training days from technical school, the 82d Training Wing’s 359th Training Squadron began instructing the newly developed F-35 Avionics Fundamentals course December 14, 2023, at Eglin Air Force Base.

Airmen in Training previously came here for a general avionics fundamentals course which focuses on legacy aircraft. The streamlined course will decrease training costs and could increase the number of mission-ready F-35 maintenance Airmen graduated every year.

Staff Sgt. Alec Turley, F-35 Avionics Instructor, recognized the benefits of trimming the irrelevant training and collaborated on the curriculum change.

“The initial process that started this course, was we coordinated with our course development managers from Sheppard and Eglin,” he said. “We proposed an idea of what we wanted the new fundamentals course to be. And they said, ‘Greenlight, go for it.’ We began creating all the objectives, all the PowerPoint slides, all the testing material, the tool control - everything that's going to be gradable within that course, we designed here at Eglin.”

Working with a $60,000 budget and two empty classrooms, Turley and his team created lecture and hands-on learning spaces for the new fundamentals course, which focuses on the basic skills needed to use basic hand tools for wires and connectors.

The 82d TRW provided resources for the hands-on portion of the course. Mr. Jeffery Pittman, Chief of Training Resources and Requirements at the 363rd Training Squadron, was instrumental in this effort.

“The 363rd TRS provided hand tool trainers to the 359th TRS to support the F-35 Avionics Fundamentals course moving to Eglin,” Pittman said. “The 359th TRS had an immediate need, we had the means to support our sister squadron, so we executed. One team, one fight!”

According to Turley, support from Sheppard during the development and implementation of the new course was vital to its success.

“To save money and throughout our course development, we coordinated with Sheppard Air Force Base to repurpose six tool trainers and 14 toolboxes,” Turley said. “These toolboxes and tool trainers give us the ability to perform tests and evaluation and teach the new airmen how to use these new tools. And these new tools are utilized on the F-35. We're not using legacy tools or legacy technical data to teach legacy concepts.”

While Turley and the other instructors of the 359th TRS take pride in shaping the future of all F-35 maintainers, the Eglin-based F-35 Avionics Fundamentals inaugural class was especially meaningful.

“After putting many hours developing the course and building the classrooms, it’s extremely satisfying to finally see the first class make their way to the course,” he said.