The 517th Training Group hosts operational leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Commanders, senior enlisted leaders, functional managers and other operational leaders gathered at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center for the 517th Training Group’s VisitPalooza, May 10-12.

VisitPalooza is an event hosted by the 517th TRG, allowing visitors the opportunity to get a glimpse of students' lives as they go through the strenuous curriculum.

“We open up DLI and the 517th Training Group to visitors who come to learn about what our Airmen do on a day-to-day basis,” said Maj. Elinore Carrasco, 314th Training Squadron director of operations. “Trying to understand some of the challenges our Airmen go through so they can better support them back at their operational stations.”

The primary focus of this visit is specifically geared towards operational intelligence units. After a day and a half of tours and briefings, the commanders and leaders were given the opportunity to speak directly to the Airmen.

“When we saw the agenda, we were insanely excited about the Airmen all-call,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Weilbacher, 488th Intelligence Squadron director of operations. “We don’t get a chance to see these folks when they are in training, but the feedback we get is that this is one of the hardest things they have to do.”

Those visiting the 517th took time to break into small groups with the Airmen in training to answer questions and inspire.

“We had the opportunity to talk with these guys about what the future job looked like and the importance of the language piece,” said Weilbacher.

DLIFLC is just one stop in a long journey of training for Airmen. Courses range from 36 to 64 weeks before moving on to their next training location. By the time Airmen get to their first duty station, they could have earned as many as two promotions and are preparing to enter the noncommissioned officer ranks.

“It is very tough and sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Weilbacher.

Chief Master Sgt. Chet Cooper, 488th IS senior enlisted leader, added how it is important to stay motivated and aggressive towards learning.

“There are going to be a lot of opportunities out there,” said Cooper. “They should keep looking for them, keep challenging themselves.”