JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Approximately one year ago, Headquarters Air Force kicked off an initiative to promote increased cyber fundamentals training across all Air Force Specialty Codes. The objective was meant to help determine differential training for Airmen in knowledge operations management, cybersurety, cable and antenna systems, computer systems programming and client systems career fields.
Of thousands of Airmen within Air Combat Command, two were selected to participate in the program; both are assigned to the 792nd Intelligence Support Squadron.
Staff Sgt. Erin Belton, a former knowledge manager, and Tech. Sgt. Sean Zeni, originally a client system technician, were recommended by leadership based on aptitude levels and desire for the target career fields.
“When leadership originally informed us about the opportunity and gaged our unit for interest, we all raised our hands,” Belton said. “I was already contemplating cross training into another cyber career field, so I was beyond grateful to be selected.”
Both Airmen were required to complete more than 250 training tasks, and their progression was tracked through a monthly review of training records and on-the-job task completion by leadership.
“I appreciated how involved my supervisors were when it came to making sure I was able to balance my training with daily tasks,” Belton said.
The two had slightly different journeys to accomplishing the same goal based on previous experience. Zeni was routinely exposed to highly technical environments throughout his career, while Belton’s job as a knowledge manager was not as technical and did not require her to have Security Plus certification, which she gained during this process. The certification course helps prove competency in topics such as threats, vulnerabilities and attacks, system security, network infrastructure, access control, cryptography, risk management and organizational security.
With the help of other Airmen in various cyber specialties within their unit and the 747th Communications Squadron, Belton and Zeni worked together to apply job qualification tasks in practical manners.
“The entire process made me a more well-rounded cyber technician,” said Belton. “I liked learning about things I had limited knowledge in and enjoyed working with junior airmen, non-commissioned officers and quality assurance personnel in the career field to help sharpen my skills.”
After several months of hard work and dedication, both were converted to new cyber jobs. Belton is now officially a cyber systems operations technician and Zeni is a cyber transport systems technician.
“I could not be more proud of both Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Bridget Bruhn, 792nd ISS superintendent. “This task required high levels of dedication, motivation and hours of off-duty study time. They both went above and beyond to make sure they successfully achieved objective and are perfect examples of the squadron’s Agile Airman Model.”