Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course / By CW5 Allen R. “Randy” Godfrey, CW4 Shawn N. Paris, and CW3 Charles L. Brown: The current Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course (AWOAC) is a distinct improvement from AWOAC past. There are now two distinct resident phases.
Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT) Master Control Station operations during an exercise at the Seneff building, Fort Rucker, AL.
The first is the warrant officer mid-grade learning subjects required for all warrant officers. The second is the technical specific track phase. This phase allows our aviation warrant officers to build on training and education received in track schools (Aviation Mission Survivability Officer, Instructor Pilot, Maintenance Pilot, and Safety). One of the goals is to operationalize this training in order to provide a level of realism.
AWOAC utilizes simulations throughout the course, instilling and establishing essential War Fighting Functions for the development of midgrade warrants. The training starts with track specific instruction and then continues into the Military Decision-Making Process. The training then culminates with the Chief Warrior Exercise where the warrants learn, assess, develop, and implement a team concept to solve a complex problem within a complex environment. Consequently, these scenarios equip aviation professionals with essential critical thinking and problem solving skills to be the adaptive war fighters of the future.
Track Specific Training introduces aviation mission survivability officers (AMSO), instructor pilots (IP), air traffic and airspace management technicians, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technicians to individual, advanced track simulation training. This enhanced training equips these officers with the knowledge to assess and develop training scenarios, maximizing the utilization of simulation across the force. As an example, AMSOs learn how to analyze a threat environment and then use that analysis to develop a threat Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT) scenario in order to train the other students present in the course. Another example, the UAS warrants partake in multiple Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) scenarios, enhancing communication and integration of assets across the aviation aggregate.
The Military Decision-Making Process builds from track training, allowing these aviation professionals the opportunity to war-game multiple courses of action. This training is based on a decisive action training environment (DATE), providing a complex scenario embedded within a complex environment. Warrant officers will perform a series of country studies, analyzing the operational environment; progressing to the development of a training plan and course of action to defeat the threat. The majority of the simulation during this phase is computer-based, providing the analytical and critical-thinking developmental aspects for these officers.
The final phase of this course is the Chief Warrior Exercise. The students utilize the simulation devices located in the Seneff building. They fly the scenarios in the AVCATT and the reconfigurable collective training devices (RCTD). This exercise encompasses four days that allows warrants to fight, regroup, redesign, and reattach the course of action their team developed, providing invaluable insight of their action and decisions. Next, these officers conduct an after-action review, capturing vital lessons learned while providing critical feedback for course development. Following this portion of this course is a leadership class, highlighting the 21st Century Soldier Competencies and their contributions to the success or failure of their operations.
Also located in the Seneff are the Multiple Unified Simulation Environment (MUSE) devices that can replicate six unmanned aerial vehicles. UAS warrant officers operate these devices. The devices allow communication between the UAS operators and the pilots in AVCATT/RCTDs for voice communication on VHF/UHF/FM frequencies. The display from the MUSE is transmitted via hard line to a tablet stationed within each cockpit for the pilot to see what the UAS operator sees. This allows manned-unmanned teaming opportunities and scenarios. Working as teams, the warrant officers perform surveillance, target acquisition, and targeting. They will develop and refine skills, taking them to their respective units to enhance training and operational capability.
This training continues to evolve and refine. We are currently developing Downed Aircraft Recovery Team (DART) scenarios. The warrant officer maintenance pilots will develop these scenarios and incorporate them into the training. The warrant officer safety officers will integrate all aspects of the scenarios utilizing risk analysis and assessment. Both groups of these will fly and fight the simulated missions in their roles as pilots in command and air mission commanders. The roles for all participants are relative to the actual roles performed as CW2s or CW3s, placing the emphasis at the appropriate planning and execution level.
Remember to start our day asking, “What are we doing for the Warfighter?” At the end of the day, the answer is, “We provided no-fail support to the War-fighter on the ground and in the air.”
“Above the Best”
CW5 Allen R. “Randy” Godfrey is the chief warrant officer of the Aviation Branch, CW4 Shawn N. Paris is the Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course Chief, and CW3 Charles L. Brown is the AWOAC AMSO Track Lead, all assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL.