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First class graduates from new AF intelligence course

From left, Staff Sgt. Matthew Fulce, Airman 1st Class Frederick Thomas, 2nd Lt. Dawid Grzybowski, Airman 1st Class Ryan O’Gallager and Airman 1st Class Azelia Robinson are the first graduates of the new Air Force-wide E-3 Intelligence Initial Qualification Course. These five Airmen from the 552nd Air Control Wing graduated from the course Oct. 21. (Air Force photo by Darren D. Heusel)

From left, Staff Sgt. Matthew Fulce, Airman 1st Class Frederick Thomas, 2nd Lt. Dawid Grzybowski, Airman 1st Class Ryan O’Gallager and Airman 1st Class Azelia Robinson are the first graduates of the new Air Force-wide E-3 Intelligence Initial Qualification Course. These five Airmen from the 552nd Air Control Wing graduated from the course Oct. 21. (Air Force photo by Darren D. Heusel)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE - Okla. -- The 552nd Air Control Wing's Operations Support Squadron recently graduated its first class from the new Air Force-wide E-3 Intelligence Initial Qualification Course.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Jennings, 552nd OSS commander, said the new course will improve upon what was formerly a generalized initial qualification course for signals intelligence analysts.

Initial intelligence qualification courses are mostly taken by newer Airmen ranks. In the E-3 AWACS field, those courses were formerly taught at Tinker AFB, Kadena Air Base, Japan, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Graduates then moved on to learn intelligence procedures for the Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System operations.

"This is the first time we're going to have an E-3-specific qualification training course," the colonel said. "The advantage now is that you have all your intel operators with the same training across the board. So now if we have someone that's assigned from here to either one of those other bases, they don't have to be retrained."

Colonel Jennings credited the 552nd's intelligence shop for pushing the change in training.

"I think this thing is such a brilliant idea, and it puts it in line with the rest of the Combat Air Forces training with the Initial Qualification Training and the Mission Qualification Training to prepare  full-up, qualified, mission-ready individual."

The 132-hour (78 hours for non-signals intelligence specialists) course will now be taught at Tinker. Air Combat Command's Intelligence Directorate has made the course mandatory for intelligence units directly supporting the E-3 weapon system, Col. Jennings said.

The first five students graduated Oct. 21 and are Staff Sgt. Matthew Fulce, 552nd Operations Support Squadron; Airman 1st Class Frederick Thomas, 552nd OSS; 2nd Lt. Dawid Grzybowski, 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron; Airman 1st Class Ryan O'Gallager, 552nd OSS; and Airman 1st Class Azelia Robinson, 552nd OSS.

The course is described as specifically encompassing procedures and techniques required to support assigned unit/mission crews in the preparation, planning and execution of E-3 operations.

Classes cover intelligence sources and methods; threats and counter-tactics; aerodynamic, electromagnetic and electronic warfare principles; intelligence support to unit mission planning; debriefing and reporting; and the E-3 operational roles, missions and equipment.

The course combines intelligence and E-3 specific academics and can include simulator training, a description said. Graduates can move on to Mission Qualification Training for the E-3.