Story by SSgt Teresa Cleveland on 04/11/2018For the first time ever, a U.S. Air Force Airman was awarded the Basic Army Instructor Badge at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 9, 2018.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Casey Andersen, 362nd Training Squadron, Detachment 1 HH-60 helicopter crew chief instructor, was teaching a class of Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers when U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Malcom Frost, Center for Initial Military Training commanding general, presented him with the BAIB.
The AIB, awarded in basic, senior and master levels, was created for U.S. Army NCOs in 2014 to recognize the professionalism of the educators responsible for training, leading and mentoring Soldiers. Although the badge has only been around four years, Air Force instructors have been a part of the 128th Aviation Brigade for 33 years.
Due to the verbiage of Army Regulation 600-21, Noncommissioned Officer Education System Instructor Development and Recognition Program, leaders believed only U.S. Army Soldiers were eligible for earning the badgeuntil now.
"Once we asked the question about Air Force instructors, no one could say why they couldn't qualify, so we got started getting everything together to get Andersen qualified," said Capt. Richard Collier, 1st Det. commander. "Now, we're looking to make it a standard process for all of our Air Force instructors."
The 82nd Training Group's 362nd TS, 1st Det., is the only Air Force training unit on Fort Eustis, producing not only Air Force, but also Army helicopter-qualified aircraft maintenance crew chiefs.
The Det. 1 instructors work hand-in-hand with 128th Aviation Brigade, 2nd Battalion and 210th Aviation Regiment's Bravo Company to provide both Airmen and Soldiers UH-60 Black Hawk training in the Army-controlled Interservice Training Review Organization course.
Andersen, a technical sergeant select, first came through the 128th as a student in 2011. Now as an instructor, he's learned to work with sister and international services as an instructor.
"I have two different chains of command, but I'm integrated with the army," said Andersen. "It's a unique experience because you get to see how the services differ and it really helps you grow."
Collier believes it is appropriate that Andersen is the first Airman to receive the badge due to his high-speed nature.
"Andersen is that Airman we want the newest Airmen to see," said Collier. "He's that Airman everyone likes, everyone respects and everyone trusts. He fits that whole Airman concept and really deserves this."