97 TRS hosts first ‘Talon Challenge’

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Leaders from 97th Training Squadron hosted the first “Talon Challenge” for aircrew students at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, April 10, 2022. 

Students participated in multiple physical challenges and briefings throughout the day designed to push them both mentally and physically.

Lt. Col. Matthew Tarnowski, 97th TRS commander, said the elements of the challenge were also meant to grow the 97th TRS team closer together while also constructing Airmen of character who are ready to execute the 97th Air Mobility Wing mission.

“One of the goals was to get back to the basics,” he said. “If we can focus on the small things now, then that will help them become exceptional boom operators and loadmasters when they leave here.”

The challenge events included a buddy drag, a prisoners of war/missing in action table recognition activity, an Airman’s Creed exercise, Airmanship lessons and sexual assault awareness training. 

“All of the events we put the Airmen through allow them to support each other,” said Master Sgt. Mike Bernard, 97th TRS superintendent. “If the students can build camaraderie in the field, they can bring that back to the classroom and flight line, and, ultimately, it helps us accomplish our wing’s mission here of ‘training exceptional mobility Airmen.’” 

Overall, Tarnowski said the challenge gave students the opportunity to build the resilience required to be the professional Airmen the wing needs them to be.

“Inspired, adaptive and proficient,” said Tarnowski. “When you add up all the elements from the exercise, you get a very deliberate program that gets after the wing’s priorities.”