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Retraining Sensor Operator

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Commander's Action Line is a forum for the Ellsworth community to make suggestions or voice concerns about Ellsworth directly to Col. Mark Weatherington, 28th Bomb Wing commander. 

I had a few questions about the sensor operators for UAV's coming to Ellsworth. I know the base was selected and the original time frame was January of 2012. Is this still holding true? I have been selected to retraining into that career field and would like to stay at Ellsworth if possible. I leave for training in February. If the outlook of staying is slim or none I would like to find out so I can prepare my family to PCS and sell my house. Any information about the sensor operators and their future at Ellsworth would be great. Thank you
Col. Mark Weatherington
Col. Mark
First, congratulations on the opportunity to retrain into an exciting and growing career field.

January 2012 is a little optimistic--we have been marching toward a late spring 2012 stand-up of the first combat air patrol. However, the RPA enterprise has been overwhelmed by demand, and it is possible the stand-up could shift to later in 2012. We anticipate a more refined timeline for Ellsworth's RPA mission in the next 30 to 60 days.

AFPC matches RPA SO assignments once the member is enrolled in the 3 level Basic Sensor Operator Course (BSOC) at Randolph AFB (approx. 6 week course). If an Ellsworth member has around 3 years TOS or less, AFPC they may consider re-assignment to the 432 ATKS at Ellsworth. However, if an Ellsworth member has 4 or more years TOS when enrolled in BSOC, he should anticipate a PCS after graduation.