436th Training Squadron celebrates centennial

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Terri Brooks
  • 436th Training Squadron

What does a bronco, a cowboy and an orange moon have to do with Pearl Harbor? Would you like a hint? It pertains to one of the oldest Air Force squadrons established long before the service was even born.

The 436th Training Squadron has been involved in nearly every conflict since World War I. Their ability to capture and bring back lessons learned from combat to prepare the war fighters for tomorrow’s fight has been a part of their mission set since their inception.   

Organized on August 18, 1917, the squadron was originally named the 88th Aero Squadron. Soon after standing up, this group of 149 men hailing from Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas departed for France at the height of World War I to aid in the war effort. Their mission was to keep the command informed of activity behind enemy lines.

While in France, the 88th flew 1,028 observation and reconnaissance missions. They completed 557 combat missions and downed four enemy aircraft. After the hostilities ended, the men of the 88th were called upon to leverage their experience to begin training at the Seventh Corps Liaison School. 

During this time, the 88th’s commander served as both the school’s Commandant and Senior Instructor. Tapping into their fresh experience from World War I, the liaison school employed the same pilots that supported the ground forces during the war to teach 505 men from multiple divisions in the art of artillery and infantry.

“ Throughout the last 100 years, training has always been woven into the fabric of who we are as a squadron,” says Lt. Col. Brian Servant, 436th TS commander.

As the U.S. entered World War II, the 88th squadron was be called upon again to support the war effort, in a different way.

In 1940, the 88th began training in the B-17 resulting in the squadron being renamed the 436th Bomb Squadron. The 436th BS received notoriety by taking on diverse missions during World War II.

“One of the most interesting parts of our squadron’s history, I think, was our involvement with Pearl Harbor,” said Airman 1st Class Nije Hightower, 436th TS broadcast journalist. “A group of B-17s were supposed to be flying into Pearl Harbor from Hamilton Field, California but were delayed.

"Unfortunately, a group of Japanese attack aircraft flew in at the same time and were mistaken for the B-17s by radar operators."

The 436th B-17s ended up flying into Pearl Harbor at the height of the attack and many were damaged or destroyed.”  

After Pearl Harbor, the 436th’s bombers ran patrol missions in the area allowing other aircraft safe passage to Australia. 

“One of the most remarkable attributes I’ve seen throughout our squadron’s history is how we continue to find creative ways to make the mission happen,” says SMSgt Terri Brooks, 436th TS Superintendent. “During World War II, the 436th took on various missions outside their normal scope. Not only did we conduct bombing raids but also photographic and air drop missions.”  

The 436th was deactivated in 1963 and reactivated in 1986 as the 436th Strategic Training Squadron at Carswell AFB, Texas to support training and creating multimedia-training productions for Strategic Air Command.

In 1992, the 436th realigned under Air Combat Command as the 436th TS and a year later was moved to Dyess AFB, Texas.

Following the move, the 436th TS looked to take advantage of new technologies to better support training in and out of the classroom.

Today, the 436th continues its training legacy using its two primary mission sets utilizing state of the art technology. The first is our brick and mortar classroom academics. 

“Technology has made some changes as to how we conduct instruction,” said Johnny Lott, 436th TS Director of Education and Training. “With the use of ADLS, Blackboard©, the Defense Collaboration Services (DCS) or combinations of those, what was once traditionally instructor led instruction can now be supplemented with eLearning creating a blended learning environment.

“There are many applications and advantages to this design because the learner can progress independently of everyone else and at their convenience. Also, the cost saving in the form of temporary duty dollars expended to send someone to training can be reduced or eliminated altogether.” 

The 436th teaches 15 courses, 12 that are Community College of the Air Force accredited, to over 1,400 students annually.

These include the Aviation Resource Management course, three safety courses cover a range of operations from Occupational Safety requirements to weapons loading, the Aircraft Mishap Investigation course and the Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) training that teaches Airmen, sister service members and coalition partner nations how to operate such critical equipment like the Combat Survivor Evader Locator radio.

The AFE team also provides education on how to manage an aircrew contamination control area for all aircrew and supports Joint and NATO exercises.

The second primary mission set is to capture, develop and provide professional instructional video. This capability allows organizations to educate todays, and future, Airmen for years to come.


The 436th produces instructional videos have ranged from motorcycle safety, to aircraft egress, preflight and aerial refueling.


Time is a precious commodity; 436th products help the readiness of the Air Force by assisting and supporting training and freeing up valuable time. This creates space to spend on recurring training issues. Video productions also supplement person-to-person training and enable Air Force Instructors to focus on preparing our Airmen for future conflicts.


“Given continuous advancements in the multimedia and audiovisual industry, we are able to provide solutions to most, if not all training needs, in a timely, professional, and extremely cost effective manner,” said Mr Justin Fairley, Director of Instructional Productions.


“The latest enhancement to our mission set is a classified production capability that allows communities previously limited in training platforms even greater options without compromising security."

Finally, the 436th teaches students how to develop courses as well as how to instruct them during the Instructional Systems Design and Classroom Instructor Courses.

Today instructors at the 436th TS continue the legacy of the 88th’s Seventh Corps Liaison School by leveraging their experience as subject matter experts from more than six Air Force specialties charged with honing skills for the modern day warfighter.

“The 436th Training Squadron’s reach and positive affect across the Air Force and DoD is incredibly impressive and I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside such an exceptional group of Airmen, who are actively adding to such a rich history that dates back to the 88th Aero Squadron,” says Servant. 

So when you see the 436th TS patch, take a moment to reflect on the bright orange moon, the spirit of the brave cowboy, the power of the bucking Bronco and the proud legacy of the original men of the 88th Aero Squadron. Serving from World War I to the Global War on Terror, the 436th TS is still capturing lessons and passing them to prepare today’s warfighter for tomorrow.