552nd OSS Simulation Training Program named best in Air Combat Command for 2016

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  • By Ron Mullan

The 552nd Operational Support Squadron’s (OSS) Simulation Training Program was recently named the best in Air Combat Command (ACC) for 2016. “This is the third year in a row that the unit has been recognized,” said Lt Col Ryan Fleishauer, Commander of the 552nd OSS.

 “This award is a reflection of the work, dedication, and incredible talent that the Wizards apply on a daily basis. They not only consistently maintain and manage the largest Aircrew Training Device program in ACC, they innovate to continuously update simulator scenarios and improve training for our warfighters. This recognition is absolutely earned,” said Fleishauer.

 The 552nd OSS Training Program racked up some impressive numbers throughout 2016. They led the Combat Air Forces’ largest Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) program valued at 59 million dollars operating more than 1,682 hours and 835 events, resulting in a 97 percent effective rate while training 900 plus mission crew members.

 In addition, the unit exceeded 96 virtual Air Expeditionary Force spin-up events for 30 crews that provided training for 524 Airmen. They also managed a synthetic training program using nine simulators for 3.2 thousand events that netted 590 new aircrew members, translating into 30 combat-ready E-3 crews.

 The unit made several improvements to their training program to include standardizing Southwest Asia deployment training by organizing three simulator scenarios for 74 DMOs that kept 300 E-3 crews current on Area of Responsibility Tactics, Training and Procedures.

Another success story was reviving the Mission Simulator Live Intercept Training Environment, a dormant 3.6 million dollar program that enables ground control of aircraft in 32 airspaces with 40 fighter squadrons, filling 2,000 Ready Aircrew Program shortfalls.

 “Our facility is the largest in the Air Force,” said Lt Col Eric Dudak, Chief of the Operations Training Division. “We have seven different mission crew simulator facilities and four front-end full motion simulator facilities. With around 1,800 flying personnel to support, we keep pretty busy.”

 To that end, according to Fleishauer, the number of DMO events has been steadily rising over the last 10 years with the Army and Navy getting more involved in the simulator world.

“In 2006 we had 345 DMOs and in 2016 that number rose to 835, roughly a 120 percent increase, with about the same number of personnel, or less, assigned,” said Fleishauer.

Currently there are seven officers, one enlisted and one civilian assigned to the simulator training program.

 As for the future, Dudak said he would like to tailor more useful training scenarios in the simulator environment. “That way we don’t have to use the aging aircraft as much.” Fleishauer echoed those sentiments. “Those distributive missions where we work with someone else (are) where these guys make their money. We can simulate really big air battles and the more we can do that in the sim world, the better we become and we save wear and tear on the aircraft,” said Fleishauer.

 Input from redeploying crew members is essential to keeping the training scenarios current and effective. “It’s a living scenario, as soon as guys get back from deployment, we plug them in with our simulation representative and whoever was the lead weapons officer during the deployment will go over the script and tell us what we need to update, what we can do away with and what we can add,” said Maj Mark Overman, former Chief of Simulation and Training.

"Having won this MAJCOM-level award before, it would be easy to rest on our laurels, but the sim team continues to put in the hard work to continually advance this program,” said Dudak. “Their efforts directly correlate to operational successes. I couldn't be more proud."