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19th AF commander experiences 314th AW innovations

A man wearing the Air Force flight suite talks to a man wearing the operational camouflage uniform.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, listens to U.S. Air Force Col. Stephen Hodge, 314th Airlift Wing commander, talk about the monster garage at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 7, 2019. The monster garage allows students to participate with their instructors in hands-on training in a simulated C-130J cargo area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man wearing the Air Force flight suit uses virtual reality training devices.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, uses a virtual reality training device at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 7, 2019. Doherty met with Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Squadron’s innovation flight and was shown numerous innovations and integrated modern technologies within the training squadron focusing not only on student instruction but instructor development as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man wearing the Air Force flight suit talks to an audience.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, speaks on innovations at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, March 7, 2019. During his visit, Doherty was able to recognize a couple key performers and encouraged innovators to experiment with new methods to improve mission effectiveness and operational efficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, visited the 314th Airlift Wing to gain firsthand insight to the way the wing integrates innovation within training March 7, 2019 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

Doherty met with Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Squadron’s innovation flight and was shown numerous integrated modern technologies and solutions within the training squadron focusing not only on student instruction but instructor development as well.

Virtual reality headsets, new training videos and the Learning Next initiative offer solutions to modernize training and mission effectiveness in the way the Air Force develops Airmen throughout their careers, ultimately enhancing their lethality and readiness.

“These new technologies are increasing student exposure for less money than the way we’ve done it in the past,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Patrick Duffey, 62nd AS chief of innovation. “The more repetitions our students get in the safest environment possible, the more efficient they will become before they’re put in a real world situation.”

One of the first innovations Doherty was briefed on at Little Rock AFB was the monster garage. This allows students to participate with their instructors in hands-on training in a simulated C-130J cargo area. Instructors are able to correct and mentor student loadmasters by seeing exactly how they apply the training they’ve received throughout their courses.

Following the monster garage, Doherty experienced the virtual reality training devices being utilized by the 314th AW. These devices let Airmen immerse themselves within the aircraft, use equipment they haven’t been able to practice with in the past, and ultimately train on some of the more complex aspects of pilot and loadmaster duties.

“By our schoolhouse obtaining more virtual reality training devices than the traditional C-130 simulators, students will get more opportunities to train,” Duffey said. “Unlike the simulators, loadmasters now have a way to train in an immersive, safe environment.”

These and other creative approaches to learning have begun developing a new generation of Airmen whose experience will sharpen the competitive edge of strategic and tactical combat airlift.

“It’s time to start converging on the best innovations to put our money toward,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander.

According to Doherty, the 19th AF will soon stand up an innovation cell of its own.

“Our innovation cell will be laser-focused on knowing everything that’s going on out at our wings and will try to bring industry solutions easier, faster and at a cheaper price point,” Doherty said.

During his visit, Doherty was able to recognize a couple key performers and encouraged innovators to experiment with new methods to improve mission effectiveness and operational efficiency.

“I need innovators thinking,” Doherty said. “It’s innovators like the Airmen of the 62nd AS innovation flight who propel the team forward into the next century.”

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