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C-130 News: Reserve instructors train special operators in AC-130U

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As of September, special operations reservists began training active-duty Airmen in AC-130U formal training courses.

Majors Francis Poindexter and David McGourin, 5th Special Operations Squadron, fill instructor roles for the active duty formal training unit, the 19th Special Operations Squadron.

“The AC-130U has a very dynamic mission and a proud tradition,†said McGourin. “Being part of the team that provides combat ready aircrew to the operational squadron is incredibly rewarding. The students are very motivated to become part of the mission, which makes instructing them exciting.â€

Poindexter instructs the fire control officer course while McGourin teaches qualification and mission training to pilots and co-pilots.

Reserve instructors are a common practice within the special operations training community and the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center. The 5th SOS Airmen provide instructor manning for the Combat Aviation Advisor Fixed Wing (C-145) FTU, the U-28 FTU, and are posturing to support MC-130H and C-146 FTU operations in the future, according to Lt. Col. Michael Lee, the 5th SOS commander.

The integration into the “Spooky†training expanded this summer with a goal to supply three full crews for training. The 5th SOS would then make up approximately 40 percent of the instructor force for the AC-130U.

“The reservists bring continuity and depth of experience to the training environment,†said McGourin. “The reserve instructors will stay in place through changes in the active duty cadre due to the PCS/PCA cycles. They also have a large amount of operational, combat, and instructional experience that allow them to adapt to the needs of the student and be flexible in their approach with the students.â€

The course is accomplished mostly in the aircraft with academic and simulator training mixed in. The first four phases cover basic flight operations. The last four phases prepare Airmen to employ the aircraft in a combat environment.

“The AC-130U has such a unique and rewarding mission,†said Poindexter, who has more than 2,000 combat hours flown in the AC-130U.

“I enjoy passing on what I’ve learned to the students. It’s a great feeling when you see a student struggling in the beginning and then they have that moment of clarity. That moment when everything you’ve been trying to explain finally makes sense and you see the proverbial light bulb come on in their head.â€

The 5th SOS is constantly looking for qualified instructors to join the squadron and incorporate into the Air Force Special Operations Command total force initiative efforts including more AC-130U instructors.

“(This mission,) it’s literally taking and saving lives. The stakes don’t get much higher than that. I want to do everything I can to make sure the next generation of Ghostriders is ready to do the job,†said Poindexter

View original article: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/military/eglin/reserve-instructors-train-special-operators-in-ac-130u-1.401165

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