Dyess Rapid Airman Development Program bolsters skills, improves sense of community

US Air Force | Aug. 8, 2022

By 1st Lt. Kaitlin Cashin

 Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, shakes the hand of Maj. Jeremy Martin. Martin, 7th Bomb Wing deputy staff judge advocate, who is responsible for establishing the Rapid Airman Development program at Dyess Air Force Base, which encourages Airmen to develop multi-capable skills including language, fitness, leadership and Marine Martial Arts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Reilly McGuire)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas:  Developing Airmen for the future fight takes a combination of completing official career field training requirements and building an Air Force community to socialize the joint and foreign skills needed to meet upcoming demands.

At Dyess Air Force Base, Maj. Jeremy Martin, 7th Bomb Wing deputy judge advocate, noticed in his work that Airmen who struggled to find community often found themselves in trouble in the legal office instead. He decided to take action by establishing Rapid Airman Development. 

Dyess AFB RAD was created as an answer to the Defense Department’s need for joint trained warfighters and Dyess AFB’s local need for Airmen’s sense of community. RAD henceforth became a program built for Airmen across ranks, career fields and background to bolster skills through a combination of physical challenges, academic programs and culturally immersive partnerships. 

“The Air Force has so many resources available to Airmen when it comes to professional development, fitness and education, but until now, there was no integrated community for our Airmen to encounter these resources in tandem,” Martin said. 

Airmen across Dyess AFB have had the chance to engage in a variety of opportunities to include Marine Martial Arts training, Norwegian Ruck Marches, language training classes, Army Air Assault, Army Airborne and even the German Proficiency Badge since the program’s inception. 

Tech. Sgt. Hayden Kroff, noncommissioned officer in charge of RAD, has been stationed at Dyess AFB for over six years. He first learned of the Norwegian Foot March in fall of 2021 and said, “When I learned about RAD, I was all over it. This program has reinforced my warrior ethos and enabled me to build critical networks inside and outside of the 7th (Bomb Wing).” 

Kroff has earned two foreign badges and two sister service qualifications including Army Airborne and Army Air Assault since joining RAD. 

“Most importantly, these opportunities have postured a group of everyday Airmen to communicate effectively in the joint environment and offer skills that inherently support the agile combat employment concept,” Kroff said. 

There are currently 20 active members involved with RAD and according to the officer in charge of the program, Capt. Manuel Lamson, interest has only increased. 

“Many Airmen are interested in bettering themselves outside of the workplace while becoming better leaders and people,” Lamson said. “We are glad to see interest in the program grow, not only at Dyess, but at other military bases too.” 

Most recently RAD sponsored a capstone trip to the Netherlands where Airmen learned battle history in a staff ride and competed in the Vierdaagse Four Days March challenge at Kamp Heumensoord, Netherlands. 

While in Holland, Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Coltrin, 7th BW command chief, witnessed the growth of Dyess AFB Airmen. 

“RAD drives pride and confidence in Airmen,” Coltrin said. “By going on the staff ride, Airmen got to analyze the philosophy behind warfighting. Then, when we took on the arduous task of the 80-mile ruck march, I got to see our Airmen translate philosophy into action.” 

I’ve seen RAD set a foundation in leadership that Airmen will build upon the remainder of their careers,” Coltrin added. “In accomplishing what they did, they are bringing international acclaim to the warriors of West Texas.”     

RAD started as a 7th BW sponsored program, but that does not mean it has to stay there. Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th BW commander, sees RAD as an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for Airmen across the installation. 

"We are professional, innovative Airmen delivering decisive combat power for our nation - Rapid Airman Development strengthens our Airmen to deal with the adversity and uncertainty of the next fight," Kramer said. 

To get involved in RAD, Dyess Airmen can visit the Air Force Connect App, add Dyess AFB as a “favorite” and sign up for events under “Airman Development” module.