Initial active-duty controllers complete training
By Captain Brian Bowman, 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published June 17, 2009
St. Joseph -- The first three active duty officers assigned to Rosecrans as part of a two-year training program for airfield officers have completed their training.
Since mid-2007, Capt. Melissa Moroney and first lieutenants Charles Chapot and Sean Conley have been assigned to the 241st Air Traffic Control Squadron here participating in the Airfield Operations Officer Training program, or AOOT.
The 241st is one of 10 Air National Guard units hosting new officers for the AOOT program. The officers are put through a comprehensive curriculum focusing on operational training and management, as well as deployments.
Chapot and Conley, both Air Force Academy graduates in 2007, said it was an adjustment coming full-time to an Air Guard base, without all of the facilities - such as base exchange, commissary and workout areas - typically found on active duty Air Force bases.
"We were the first (AOOT) students to come through (Rosecrans)," Chapot said. "So we all learned together."
Cindy Caughlan, the 241st's chief of air traffic control training and standardization, manages the AOOT program at Rosecrans. A former chief master sergeant with the 241st, Caughlin never thought she would see the day when active duty officers' training would reside exclusively with the Guard.
"I think it's awesome," Caughlan said. "It really emphasizes Total Force."
Caughlan said the advantage of the new officers being in a Guard environment is mobility mentality of Citizen Airmen.
"We've been doing mobility forever," she said. "It gives them a really good experience that they can take with them."
She had nothing but praise for the trailblazing officers.
"They are super-sharp individuals," she said. "We both learned, without a shadow of a doubt."
And although the three officers are eager to move on to their first active-duty base assignment, they had good things to say about their hosts.
"They (the 241st) treated us like family members," Chapot said, "They were so great to my wife while I was deployed, it is something I'll remember."