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97th Operations Group: Constantly learning and constantly training

a man talks in front of a stage

Col. William Mickley, commander of the 97th Operations Group, speaks to the 97th OG during a training day October 19, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. The 97th OG used a training day to focus on mission readiness and communication within the group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dylan Murakami)


The 97th Operations Group participated in a training day October 20, 2018, on Altus AFB.

Training days are when the commander of an installation cancels some or all operations for a day to allow individual squadrons to conduct training.

In the case of the OG, all flying operations were shut down for the day to allow for the training.

An average day of flying consists of approximately 18 different flights and hands-on training for around 54 students

“Thank you Col. Carney for cancelling flight line operations today to allow us to get this necessary training done,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Lund, chief of faculty training for the 97th Operations Group. “It really helps us to get these opportunities.”

The 97th OG focused on their mission of supplementing and conducting training and there was a focus on open communication in their squadron.

“The sole focus of this training is to get better at our jobs,” said Lund. “We’re open for discussion. Everyone has an opinion and we want them to share it.”

The 97th Operations Group consists of the 54th Airlift Squadron, 58th Airlift Squadron, 56th Air Refueling Squadron, 97th Operations Support Squadron and the 97th Training Squadron.

Since this group includes all of the training instructors for the 97th Air Mobility Wing, much of the training was aimed towards mission readiness.

“Dedicated training days allow our instructors an opportunity to focus solely on developing advanced instructional techniques, acquiring real-world context, and absorbing case studies from operational mobility units,” said Lund.

Topics ranged from intelligence, aircraft information, safety, briefs on the upcoming flu season and what changes there would be to keep members mission ready.

“The safety brief was pretty eye opening,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Hall, superintendent of the 97th OG. “We’re always going to have young crews and what we do to prepare them could save their lives or the lives of others.”

The 97th OG specializes in training students, but training days show that the mission of the Air Education and Training Command never stops. Under the Continuum of Learning, AETC stresses that everyone is constantly learning and constantly training, regardless of age and rank.