The 337th Air Control Squadron provides training to air battle managers

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The 337th Air Control Squadron is the only Air Force training squadron specifically tailored to train junior officers as Air Battle Managers.

The instructors at the 337th Air Control Squadron teach junior officers on how to become air battle managers. When it comes to air combat, ABMs are responsible for putting the right assets into contact with unfriendly forces. Utilizing strategy, experience and an intimate knowledge of aircraft, weapons and surveillance; they use everything at their disposal to control the outcome of an air battle. This can include both airborne surveillance and electronic warfare. Additionally, the squadron provides training for international officers in tactical command and control operations in a coalition environment.

“We are producing the next generation of air battle managers to become efficient warriors for the Air Force,” said 1st Lt. Tal Berman, 337th Air Control Squadron instructor. “We are able to facilitate these student’s growth into their responsibility as officers and their knowledge of their job.”

Today students at the 337th ACS must learn a diverse set of skills allowing them to direct airborne assets across a widespread range of combat operations.

The squadron teaches five comprehensive courses. The primary course is a 9-month Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training Course where active duty and Air Guard students are instructed and expected to demonstrate proficiency on subjects such as friendly and enemy aircraft capabilities and limitations, defensive and offensive counter air operations, close air support, personnel recovery, large force employment, suppression of enemy air defenses and tactical control of high-performance aircraft.

Upon graduation, active duty students receive their occupational badge and move on to follow-on assignments where they will learn how to operate in surveillance aircraft or learn to operate in ground-based surveillance centers. Possible assignments include the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System and the E-8 Joint Surveillance Targeting and Attack Radar System, both advance surveillance aircraft. Some graduates are able to receive follow-on assignment to a Control and Reporting Center ground unit, this allows ABMs to maintain a presence on the ground and support planes in the air.

“We are able to make the Air Force better by training air battle managers on every aspect of their job,” said Airman 1st Class Blake Tepovich, 337th ACS weapons simulation technician.

Much of the squadron’s success can be credited to the blending of both officer and enlisted that teach and support the ABM students through their courses.

 “The pairing of enlisted and officers here gives us a fuller spectrum of what it is to be an air battle manager,” said 2nd Lieutenant Mariah Wood, 337th ABM Undergraduate course student. Each side allows us to see a different perspective of what it is to do your job effectively in the Air Force. Whether it’s a senior enlisted or younger officer, the personnel that are here, are the best the Air Force has to offer in educating us.”

The importance of the ACS mission inspires the unit to have a great sense of pride in what they do.  

“Something everyone has in common in our squadron is an intense drive to succeed,” said Staff Sgt. Dayon Jenkins, 337th ACS weapons technician. “Regardless of whether it’s the students, instructors, weapons technicians or weapons simulation technicians, we all have a desire to learn and be greater as a squadron.”

The 337th ACS were originally called the 325th Air Control Squadron, and finds its functional Tyndall roots back in 1947, when the Interceptor Weapons Schoolhouse was established. Since then the Air Force has conducted controller training at Tyndall, though with numerous mergers and name changes. In October 2012 the 325th Fighter Wing transferred from Air Education and Training Command to Air Combat Command.  At that time the 325th ACS was designated the 337 ACS and remained in AETC as a geographically separated unit of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.