The 97th Training Squadron manages the 97th Air Mobility Wing's $1.98-billion contracted aircrew training program for 275 assigned instructors and 2100 C-17, KC-135 and KC-46 students from the United States and 16 countries. The squadron operates six flights, including C-17 Aircrew Training System (ATS) quality assurance, KC-135 ATS quality assurance, KC-46 ATS quality assurance, training, and student support. Additionally, military training leaders provide mentorship and Airmanship training for 120 new Airmen annually in the Air Force Phase program.
Although portions of the squadron's training mission can be traced back to 1952 when the 1709th Technical Training Squadron was activated at West Palm Beach, Fla., the history of the 97th Training Squadron is relatively short.
The squadron 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 trained 320 Active, Guard and Reserve members through their three-level basic loadmaster qualifications, until the loadmaster schoolhouse relocated to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in 2007.
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 the 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 2006 inspection.
The 97th Training Squadron earned three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards before its inactivation on Jan 16, 1998.
The squadron reactivated to concentrate on its current mission of student administration and quality assurance on Feb. 15, 2002. The 97 TRS provides quality assurance for the Wing's contracted aircrew training program, 23 syllabi, and 44 training devices worth $324 million encompassed in 13 facilities worth $93.2 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.
Since reactivation, the TRS has won 10 additional Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, the 2010 AETC Top Operations Squadron, Operations/Training Squadron, and the 2015 Air Force International Military Student Office of the Year.
(Updated as of August 2017)