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First ICDS, JPADS instructor training begins

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Units from across the C-130 and C-17 communities are gathered here this week to "train the trainers" on the Improved Container Delivery System and the Joint Precision Airdrop System.

Ten active duty, Air National Guard, and reserve units spent the week in two phases of ground training and then put their skills to work with operational training, hosted by the 34th Combat Training Squadron.

This is the first time formal training of instructors has occurred on JPADS and ICDS. Instructors will take their training to the field and back to their host units to train others.

These systems use GPS guidance to steer pallets of cargo to their targets.

The 34th CTS was tasked to prepare and host training "directly from the Secretary of the Air Force," said Lt. Col. Pete Straight, 34th CTS joint exercise port assignment director of operations. "They (the Air Force) wanted it (JPADS and ICDS) now," he said. The 34th had three weeks to plan while still accomplishing their week-to-week mission.

"When crews leave here they will be fully qualified on JPADS and ICDS," said Lt. Col. Jeff Szczepanik, 34th Combat Training Squadron commander. "Everyone is eager to learn," he said.

While both JPADS and ICDS are still undergoing testing, urgency for training on these systems is important because "they take convoys off the roads," said Lt. Col. Szczepanik.

Many visiting units have no previous experience on either system, like Lt. Col. Terry Feather, 182nd Airlift Wing Operations Group, from the Illinois Air National Guard out of Peoria, Ill., who brought with him 13 crew members.

"It's a good system, and it will be beneficial in the field," he said, of the training.

His crew members will bring back their knowledge to train the Illinois ANG.

Lt. Col. John Rutowski, Air Mobility Command deputy chief for combat operations, is also very pleased with the training. "(The 34th CTS) has great facilities and experience, they train operational units for combat," he said.

"The team at Little Rock is making it happen, it's a lot to do in two weeks, they're doing whatever it takes," said Col. Dave Lawton, commandant of the mobility operations school at Ft. Dix, N.J. "This is the total force coming together," he said. They can "take this capability to the theatre and home stations."
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