443rd Technical Training Squadron (TTS)
Technical Training Squadron History and Lineage
Note: Before any student could enter the flight phase of training for the C-141 Starlifter, they would first complete the academics portion of their training in the 1709th, 443rd or 97th Squadron.
The forerunner of the 443rd Technical Training Squadron (TTS) was activated as the 1709th Training Squadron under the 1707th Air Transport Group in September 1952 at West Palm Beach, Fla. The squadron consisted of 144 officers, enlisted and civilians providing a standardized training program for the Military Air Transport Service aircrews.
Students received transition training in the C-54, C-97, C-124, SA-16, WB-50, and C-118 airplanes. Headquarters, Military Air Transport Service renamed the squadron the 1709th Technical Training Squadron on Sept. 10, 1954.
In June 1959, the wing moved to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 1709th Technical Training Squadron was re-designated the 443rd Technical Training Squadron on Jan. 8, 1966, and on Nov. 5, 1968, the last class of C-124 students graduated, and the training was moved to Altus Air Force Base, Okla., where training resumed on March 24, 1969, for the first class of C-141 students.
The changing needs of the Air Force established a need to contract the training of its crew members to the private sector. In January 1987, C-5 training was contracted by a civilian company, and the C-141 aircrew training followed suit in October 1989.
In March 1990, the 443rd Technical Training Squadron was re-designated the 443rd Training Support Squadron. Because of a major realignment, the squadron was again redesignated in August 1991 as the 443rd Operations Support Squadron under the 443rd Operations Group.
On Oct. 1, 1992, the 443rd Airlift Wing was deactivated, marking the beginning of the 97th Air Mobility Wing.
On Feb. 15, 2002, the 97th Operations Support Squadron split to create a separate training squadron. The 97th Training Squadron was born, taking with it the student administration section, quality assurance section, and two training flights.
The 97th Training Squadron manages the 97th Air Mobility Wing's $1.01-billion contracted aircrew training program for 275 assigned instructors and 2100 C-17 and KC-135 students from the United States and 16 countries. The squadron operates five flights, including C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) quality assurance, KC-135 ATS quality assurance, training, and student support. Additionally, military training leaders annually provide mentorship and Airmanship training for 300 new Airmen in the Air Force Phase program.
The squadron as a whole was activated for the first time Jan. 20, 1994, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., and inherited the mission of the inactivated 330th Flying Training Squadron. It also became responsible for the KC-135 Central Flight Instructor Course following the stand down of the Strategic Air Command. In August 2002, the Basic Load Master schoolhouse moved from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas to Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Each year, they train 320 Active, Guard and Reserve members through their three-level basic loadmaster qualifications. In 2007, the loadmaster schoolhouse moved away.
During the short first tenure of the 97th Training Squadron at Altus Air Force Base, the men, and women of the unit preserved the prestige and quality training of the KC-135 Central Flight Instructor Course which had been tried, tested and proven for more than 30 years.
The unit garnered overall excellent ratings during 1995, 1997, 2004, 2006, and 2008 Air Education and Training Command Quality Air Force Assessment and Operational Readiness Inspections. Additionally, the squadron received an outstanding rating in the instructor qualification and training category during the 1995 inspection and an outstanding rating for the Military Training Flight in the 2006 inspection.
The 97th Training Squadron earned three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards before its inactivation on Jan 16, 1998.
The squadron was reactivated to fulfill its mission on Feb. 15, 2002. The 97 TRS provides quality assurance for the wing's contracted aircrew training program, 24 syllabi, and 21 training devices worth $234 million, encompassed in 9 facilities worth $84.7 million. Additionally, they are tasked with standardizing the efforts of 275 assigned instructors and 283 civilian contractors for up to 2100 C-17/KC-135 students annually.
Commanders: HELP WITH NAMES dates Lt Col James R. 'Jim' Echols, XXXX - XXXX; Lt Col George Glass, 1976 - 1977; Lt Col Leland F. Small, XXXX - XXXX; Lt Col Alan D. Milacek, XXXX - XXXX; Lt Col Joseph Svoboda, XXX XXXX
Lt Col Charles J. Wax, 1984-1986; Lt Col Tilford Harp, May 1986 - July 1988; Lt Col Joseph F. Henderson, June 88 - Jan 90; HELP WITH CC NAMES
Locations: West Palm Beach, Fla; Tinker Air Force Base, OK; Altus Air Force Base, OK
Aircraft supported: WB-50, SA-16, C-54, C-97, C-118, C-124, C-135, C-141, C-5, KC-135, C-17