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131st Bomb Wing completes annual training with a twist

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- - The Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing completed its yearly two-week annual training, with a twist, at Whiteman Air Force base. Typically annual training is two five-workday weeks, however, this year the wing also worked two consecutive weekend Unit Training Assemblies in conjunction with annual training. This meant the wing worked 19 straight days, which helped them achieve significant training objectives.

"This year's annual training was a great success," said Col Mark Beck, 131st Maintenance Group Commander. "Our people are indeed our greatest assets. The wing is now closer to being able to declare IOC (Initial Operational Capability) because of the hard work of many members to schedule, de-conflict, and train over 400 maintainers in ancillary and mobility required training. This all occurred in conjunction with B-2 AFSC hands on training. I am very proud of the fine Americans we have in the Wing,"

Annual Training accomplishments included over 400 wing members attending 920 various training events, everything from qualifying on the M-16 to attending Self Aid Buddy Care classes. The greatest number of folks trained on a single course was 339 wing members completing the 90-minute Bystander Intervention Training module.

Lt. Col. Scott Doby, wing chaplain, said the Bystander Intervention training was the most valuable to him. The training included each participant having a remote control to answer questions that appeared on a projection screen and the entire class being able to see the classes' overall response.

"As a chaplain, this enabled me to learn the different perceptions that we as a group have,"  Doby said.  "And see my own misconceptions in that and grow as a chaplain, officer, and fellow Airman."

Annual training is essential to the 131st Bomb Wing, which has formed a classic associate unit with the active duty 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base.

"Annual Training allows us 'weekenders' more time with our Air Force counterparts to build rapport and 'espirt de corps,'" said Master Sgt. Bella Brown of the 131st Maintenance Operations Flight, "It also allows the Traditional Airmen to get a better insight and prepares us for the everyday critical daily operations. I believe there is not much different from our active duty counterparts. We all have to prepare for the same mission."

"It enables us as the 131st to come together as a family and get reacquainted with old friends and learn from each other and continue to move forward as a Wing," Doby said.

"The biggest accomplishment for me at annual training is starting relationships with our active duty counterparts and starting relationships with the team members of the Airmen Readiness & Family Center,"  Doby said. "These relationships enable us to come together in our totality to serve our Airman better."

"I just want to thank all of those who make it possible for the Active Duty, technician, AGR (Active-Guard-Reserve program), and Traditional Airmen to work together as a team," Brown said. "Usually when different cultures come together, it takes about 5-7 years before everyone/the culture begin to feel comfortable with each other. I can see the cultures blending at a remarkable pace which is a very good thing."