By Marcus Hill | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 50th Operations Support Squadron resumed its Instructor Qualification Course June 8 following a two-month stoppage due to COVID-19.
The 50th OSS previously conducted monthly training to prep Airmen on essential instructor fundamentals during IQC. Airmen then return to their units to teach their unit counterparts.
“Our basic duties are making sure [50th] OSS creates the most quality instructors possible,” said Staff Sgt. Austin Breitkreutz, 50th OSS senior enlisted instructor. “We do monthly training sessions together to get the most up-to-date information. We train new instructors who fill training positions at the 50th Space Wing, [we also] provide training to the 21st Space Wing and to some reserve units around the U.S.”
Airmen learn how to become an instructor during an eight-day IQC. During the course, Airmen learn to build confidence speaking in front of others and, at the end of the first week, conduct a 20-25 minute lesson about their weapon system. The final three days, Breitkreutz teaches Airmen how to work their respective system.
This is to ensure squadrons don’t lose their ability to instruct on the weapons systems once an Airman permanently changes units.
“They have the system knowledge, now we want them to spread that knowledge,” he said. “We’re going to give them the qualifications to become a certified instructor. Then when they go back to their squadrons they can teach the new guys coming in.”
To be selected, five units — 1st, 2nd, and 4th Space Operations Squadrons, 50th Operations Group Standardization and Evaluation Flight and 50th OSS — hold a monthly training review board.
During the TRB, flight commanders select an Airman they feel is qualified to learn IQC material. Capt. Carmilya Jones, 50th OSS senior instructor, said 50th OSS has 49 qualified instructors who teach 2-12 students during IQC. Jones noted how vital IQC is to future Airmen and why it’s important to create poised instructors.
“If we can help ensure those students are confident in what they’re operating on, then that plays into the bigger deterrence picture,” Jones said. “We show other [allies and adversaries] we have confident, proficient Airmen who know what they’re doing.”
Jones said she and Breitkreutz recognize the difference in Airmen from their first day of training versus the final day of the course.
“Our motto is: ‘You get what you put in,’” she said. “If we don’t train an instructor on a consistent basis to know the weapons systems and improve their instructor skills — whether that’s talking in front of a room or configuring a simulator — the quality of that instruction goes down. But I have the best senior enlisted instructor. [Breitkreutz] has taught a lot of people in the short amount of time he’s been in this role. As a result, I can see the quality of instructors improving vastly.”