Offutt CTI instructors and courseware developers continue to deliver expertise and good old-fashioned mentoring long after the students graduate from their classes. RC-135 and E-4B crewmembers receive academic and simulator training in courses that range from 5-18 weeks depending upon crew position.
An extremely common occurrence at Offutt is for course graduates to come back to their CTI instructors and courseware developers to gain additional aviation expertise and knowledge in their specialty. It is not uncommon for a pilot who graduated two or three years ago to appear in the instructor pilots’ office seeking assistance. The questions often start with a scenario in which the former student found slot machine himself in a situation he could not totally understand. The assistance can range from helping to interpret the aircraft manuals, operational regulations, or even how to chair-fly maneuvers. While the aircrew members are particularly appreciative, it benefits us as well. We receive feedback on what we have taught and have often tailored our instruction and courseware to cover some of the same topics brought back by our former students.
Another example is Electronic Warfare Officers that graduated some three to five years ago who return to CTI to ask the instructor EWOs and ASEs questions. The questions vary from how the detailed systems actually work to employment practices and past successes. Long-term relationships have benefited Offutt.
This happens in all of the crew positions here at Offutt including the recent batch of Royal Air Force crewmembers who went through the program. We have, on average, received emails, phone calls or even drop-ins from our RAF brethren at least once a month.
You may call it long-term mentoring; we prefer to think of it as simply considering a past graduate as a more than a former customer – as a military crewmember whose success we can ensure in aviation, including combat. We are committed to our students not just for a course, but for their career.