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Formal training unit at Grand Forks AFB to become accredited

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.— Sensor operators enrolled in the 69th Reconnaissance Group’s formal training unit can soon expect to receive credits for their training, which will apply toward an associates of applied science degree in air and space operations technology from the Community College of the Air Force.

Tech. Sgt. Richard Conner, flight chief for the FTU with the 69 RG, says the accreditation process has been underway for more than a year, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

“The number one reason for requesting accreditation through the CCAF was to ensure our students were properly recognized with college credits for all their hard work,” said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Rogers, superintendent of plans and programs with the 69 RG. “Now that we are awarding up to eight college credits for our sensor operators courses, our first-term Airmen are that much closer to achieving their degree.”

Prior to coming to Grand Forks Air Force Base, sensor operator students receive a portion of their training at Beale AFB, California. The problem, Conner mentioned, is the students’ break in training due to permanent change of station prevents them from earning credits like their colleagues who stay in California.

“They were doing all the work, but weren’t getting any credit for it,” he said.

Luckily, Conner explained, Rogers had previous experience requesting accreditation for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper programs at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.

“Since I was involved with the accreditation at my last base, I was familiar with the process and the expectations levied upon the schoolhouse and the instructor candidates,” Rogers said.

The overall process is fairly simple, according to Rogers, who said all it took was sending a request to Air Combat Command to get the ball rolling in order to start working with the Air University on specific timelines and requirements.

The sensor operator students play a crucial role in the mission of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, which provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. The ISR collection capability supports joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations.

In addition to the Global Hawk’s mission, Grand Forks AFB’s mission to bring the future faster is also met through the dedication of the 69 RG formal training unit.

“The fact we can offer college credits to future students makes the course so much better,” Conner said.

The course accreditation, delayed briefly, is currently in the ending stages of its 12-month candidacy period.

“We’re hoping to get the signature of approval any day now,” Conner exclaimed.