301 FW progressing through the new normal

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Charles Taylor
  • 301st Public Affairs office

As the pandemic continues to impact each nation, it has forced everyone in some way, shape or form to adjust and continue operating within this climate. The 301st Fighter Wing Education and Training office is no different. Their mission must continue because it directly impacts the progression and proficiency of the wing’s most valuable weapon system.

“People are the Air Force’s most critical asset [because] Airmen turn competencies into required capabilities,” said Master. Sgt. James Cavin, 301 FW Education and Training superintendent. “For this reason, the art of employing Airmen with the requisite education, training, and experience is fundamental to the effectiveness of the service, affecting current operations and future capabilities.”

Ensuring wing Airmen get the required training to learn and progress is essential to maintaining mission readiness. Likewise, the education and training office also had to learn and progress to maintain theirs according to CDC and wing commander guidance.

“In March, our department was one of the first to shut down and go virtual due to a pandemic many of us knew little about,” said Cavin. “During the chaos of everyone trying to figure out how to stay home, safe, and healthy, my team was allowed to think outside-the-box to provide customer service and meet mission needs, while also keeping us safe at the same time. This pandemic has given us an opportunity to transform the way we deliver education and training services, so we are protecting our members’ time and health.”

301 FW Educational Services Officer Mrs. Traci Taylor shared one of the ways the office transformed in order to overcome challenges.

“Initially, we had to decrease the number of members who are allowed to test from 15 to four individuals. In the spirit of creativity, our office staff discussed the option of having barriers installed,” Taylor said. “Master Sgt. Cavin pitched the idea to wing leadership and we were given the green light. That change allowed us to start testing the normal amount of members safely which is fantastic.”

Although customer walk-in services are not currently available, the team used creativity and technology to take care of not only Airmen but also Army, Marine and Navy personnel on this installation as well.

“Due to the pandemic, all walk-in customer service operations have ceased, besides testing,” Cavin said. “This obstacle led our team to mastered digital ingenuity by designing 12 customer service QR code processes [and posted them] outside our door, which increased customer support and reduced COVID-19 transmission [risk].”

Their office aims to continue the standard which was set long before COVID-19.

“The full-spectrum of air, space and cyberspace capabilities stems from the collective abilities and expeditionary mindset of the total force,” Cavin said. “In a resource constrained environment, our office ensures accurate, timely, relevant, affordable, and appropriate training is available to our 301 FW members. We manage and offer unit training managers a structured/virtual resource hub on SharePoint, for their ability to advise and management their respective squadrons towards the attainment of skills, knowledge, and aptitude required to meet job performance requirements.”

The 301 FW mission--to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen--remains the driving force for the education and training office to keep pushing ahead through any obstacles.

“If our Airmen aren’t able to test over their end of course exams or professional military education exams, this hinders their progression,” Taylor said. “What we offer to the wing and our Airmen in regards to testing, formal schools, and on-the-job training is a critical part of the mission.” 

Additionally, the office can offer guidance on various educational resources if contacted through the ORG BOX email or office cell phone.

“Do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions as we are your one stop shop for all thing education, testing, formal schooling, and OJT,” said Taylor. “[Whether it’s] topics such as tuition assistance, GI Bill, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), and the Hazelwood Act, we can help answer questions on all educational entitlements as well as assist with college selections.”

Through it all, a lot of growth has taken place throughout their office. 

“There is more than just focusing on products and processes. Just as we all were getting into the groove, the impacts of COVID-19 was hitting at home and causing many of us to spiral into despair. A few of us have lost loved ones to COVID, been infected with COVID, and have been finically impacted,” he said. “Many of our Traditional Reservists work in [first responder career fields] and/or have spouses who work in COVID-19 units. From the genesis, my team felt the impact and we realized how much connectedness was crucial to our own department success. This is a time where knowing your people is crucial and making sure, everyone, including myself, is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. If anything, this pandemic has brought our team closer, which I’m personally grateful for their relentless drive and their ability to adapt, so we can better serve the members of the 301st Fighter Wing.”


**Course exam testing is available upon the supervisor’s request and verification of comprehensive review training. All services can still get tested weekly and over the unit training assembly (UTA).

Public Affairs (817) 782-5000