Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The meaning of trained

“…adult leaders are considered trained when they complete the following training:
  • Youth Protection
  • Leader Position-Specific training
  • Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills”
(LDS Scouting Handbook, 2012 ¶2.0)

What does that mean exactly, “considered trained?”

Does it mean “We have got [training] and there cannot be any more [training]?” Does completing those three items mean to say that you have all the information, skills, background and experience that you will ever need, or does it connote a basic level of education and competence to start being effective?

In 2001, I attended USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training at the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance AFB, Oklahoma. I washed out of training early on, and did not receive my wings; I became an intelligence analyst instead of a pilot. However, my class-mates and friends who did complete the training went on to become Air Force (and Navy/USMC) pilots, and all served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they didn't serve combat tours before completing graduate flight training, too. Earning your wings does not mean you are qualified to fly operational combat missions. Completing UPT means that you have satisfactorily demonstrated the level of competence necessary to safely operate an aircraft, and bring it and yourself home safely, and that you can be trusted to move to the next level. Yes, you’re a pilot, but there’s still much, much more to do before you’re a useful asset. There’s type-rating (F-16, C-17, UH-60), mission qualifications and myriad other tactics, techniques and procedures to master. A pilot’s training is never “complete,” it’s every day.

You have to master the basics first, but you can't stay there, either.  Above, a US Navy T-45 Goshawk rests in the early-morning sunlight next to its big brother, a F/A-18C Hornet at the MacDill AFB 2004 AirFest.  The T-45 is an advanced trainer, used for learning the basics of air combat and aircraft carrier operations.  The USAF uses the T-38C Talon for much the same job, minus the carrier quals. Both the T-38 and T-45 have prerequisites; the T-6A Texan II, or in my case, the now-retired T-37 Tweet (so named for its screeching engines), used for teaching basic aircraft handling and flight procedures (and guess what? they're both called Primary trainers). Image © Eric J. Larson.

To put it another way, my cousin’s husband is a professional Muy Thai fighter and instructor. They were visiting us a while back while he was preparing for a fight, and the conversation turned to my oldest, who was wrapping up his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He explained that the years of learning and progressing through the colored belt system to the first Dan black belt (there are eight Dans, or degrees), is simply the necessary preparation for when the real training begins. That black belt is not the end, but the beginning of being dangerous.

In short, it is all called basic training for a reason.

So, while completing the three modules listed above will earn you a “Trained” ribbon, they’re just the first step. There is so much more to learn, from Roundtable discussions and presentations, to University of Scouting seminars, to Wood Badge, and a host of other opportunities both within and outside of Scouting, to build your own arsenal of tactics, techniques and procedures. But a trained ribbon is just like newly-pinned wings, or a freshly tied black belt – the beginning of being effective.

Make it your New-Year's resolution to be trained beyond the minimum standard.

Prepared. | For Life.™

No comments: