|Intelligence Squadron Getting Bigger |
Intelligence Squadron Getting Bigger
Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska -- January 15, 2001 (ACCNS) -- The 97th Intelligence Squadron here will nearly double in size during the next five years because of changes to its mission, the 55th Wing, and the Air Force.
Staff Sgt. John Hoke, an airborne maintenance technician with the 97th Intelligence Squadron, inspects an antenna on one of Offutt Air Force Base's RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft.
Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Zoellner
The mission change means the squadron will handle initial aircraft qualification for all RC-135 Rivet Joint linguists. Currently, RC-135 linguists achieve initial qualification at their duty stations after graduating from technical training. After arriving at the duty station -- either Kadena Air Base, Japan; Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom; or Offutt -- new linguists spend months in on-the-job training before becoming fully qualified on the RC-135. Under the new process all Rivet Joint linguists will move to Offutt and the 97th Intelligence Squadron for qualification before being assigned to one of the three RC-135 Rivet Joint locations.
Centralizing the training will ensure all students receive similar training before reporting to their squadrons and will reduce the time and costs of training, officials said.
The training will take place in the squadron's Airborne Training Center and will include time on two simulators - the Rivet Joint Mission Trainer and the Ground Data Processing System.
"The ATC training complements the time students spend training in the air, and that allows us to get more training done without having to use more valuable flying hours," said Capt. Lori Calabrese, the future requirements coordinator for the squadron.
RC-135 airborne linguists can also look forward to a change in their Air Force Specialty Code. This spring they will convert to the 1A8 aircrew AFSC and be eligible for enlisted flight pay. Patterned after officers' Aviation Career Incentive Pay program, Career Enlisted Flight Incentive Pay is paid continuously, even when the member is performing non-flying duties. The amount is based on individual years of aviation service and meeting flying-hour criteria.
The squadron will also gain people from an Air Staff initiative to balance overseas and stateside bases, bringing an influx of linguists from the 390th Intelligence Squadron at Kadena and the 488th Intelligence Squadron at Mildenhall. The squadron also gained billets last year when the 55th Wing added two RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft to its fleet.
When all changes are complete, more than 300 additional people will be assigned to the squadron.