RAF MILDENHALL, England --
What do finance troops, boom operators and maintainers have in common?
They all require the support of unit training managers, whose efforts in recording each Airman’s training guarantee qualified individuals are working to complete the mission.
“The UTM is the key staff member for the commander as far as training goes,” said Tech. Sgt. Alpheus Escudero, 100th Force Support Squadron unit training manager. “We get people qualified to perform what they’re tasked to do.”
One of the main responsibilities of the UTM is to qualify new Airmen on a greater level of expertise within their job. Graduates of technical school are at an apprentice level of job-related knowledge, denoted by the 3-skill level, and they work toward earning a higher skill level after arriving at their first assignment.
“The junior enlisted, especially those in upgrade training from the 3-skill level to the 5-skill level, are who we spend a lot of time focusing on,” Escudero said. “As managers, we track their training using [online] systems like Training Business Area and Advanced Distributed Learning Service.”
The UTMs are also responsible for familiarizing themselves with the unit they work with. By understanding how each career field they oversee relates to the greater mission, UTMs can better understand the situations of the individuals they manage.
“It can be a lot different working as a UTM in maintenance than as one in the 100th FSS,” said Escudero. “Part of our job description is learning the mission of the unit and what each work center does. It helps us explain to new Airmen why their job is important and how it affects the success of the mission.”
No matter the career fields UTMs oversee, attention to detail is essential when one is accountable for the training records of an entire squadron.
“We do a lot of quality assurance checks so the commander can safely say we’re doing everything the right way,” said Escudero. “The work involves backtracking, being very meticulous, and making sure we have organized records. We make sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to do in terms of training, and we maintain the documentation to prove it.”
The work of UTMs occurs largely behind the scenes. Nonetheless, their contributions ensure the Air Force’s greatest resource, its people, can progress in their careers.
“I was having issues with my last base transferring my TBA documentation to RAF Mildenhall,” said Airman 1st Class Airem Smith, 100th Air Refueling Wing postal clerk. “Technical Sergeant Escudero understood my situation and answered any questions that I had. He was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful in working with me to get my 5-skill level.”