Learning Never Stops

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Xavier Lockley
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

For Staff Sgt. Donjaniee Hutchinson, the non-commissioned officer in-charge of the 927th Air Refueling Wing’s Development & Training Flight, anticipating and adapting to change are critical components for success.

Typically during a Unit Training Assembly, members of the 927th D&TF program would begin the day with physical training followed by classroom instruction, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this training model was not sustainable as it did not follow social distancing guidelines.

Despite the challenge, Hutchinson found a way to continue providing vital training and information to the Air Force Reserve’s newest enlistees before they ship out to Basic Military Training.

 “Even before COVID-19 hit, Hutchinson approached me with new strategies in which we could explore the virtual realm,” said Chief Master Sgt. Paul Tomlinson, 927th ARW Command Chief. “He and I talked about several different ways the program could be run and to his credit he’s made it work.”

Hutchinson explained that complications during the initial stages of virtual training provided teaching moments, but that there was goodness even in the glitches.

“Adapting to the new virtual environment has presented its share of challenges initially but nothing we weren’t able to overcome,” said Hutchinson. “For our new recruits, this is a teaching moment because they’re also learning how to be resilient when something doesn’t go the way you planned.”

Resiliency is a major component of readiness not just for the D&TF, but for all Reserve Citizen Airmen.

While in the D&TF, new enlistees are required to physically train, learn about Air Force history, march, and broadly prepare for the challenges that await them at BMT.

Though the pandemic has thrown a wrench into their in-person meet-ups, the 927th D&TF continues to persevere by connecting via video conferencing.

“Instead of using the hands-on approach where I can be near the enlistees showing different things I have to make sure the content I show is engaging and something the recruits can remember before heading to BMT,” said Hutchinson.

 “The times we’re in are unprecedented and unchartered and for SSgt. Hutchinson the way he’s made adjustments on the fly is remarkable,” said Tomlinson. “His number one priority is to ensure these new recruits are ready to ship off to BMT despite having to alter the traditional approach and I couldn’t be more proud of how he’s taken on the challenge.”