As the Air Force aims for total force integration, for the first time, an Air National guardsman was certified to perform the duties of a convoy commander within a missile complex -- one of only three individuals entrusted with the responsibility.
Capt. Greg Goodman, a 219th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, made Air Force history by certifying as a convoy commander in early March.
After serving three years in the Army, Goodman earned a degree in criminal justice from the University of North Dakota, where he joined the Air Guard. He obtained the rank of master sergeant before commissioning. Working in conjunction with the 91st Security Forces Group here, Goodman served as a flight commander during his training.
"We have been building that respect and relationship with the wing and its leadership, and we've always had good relations with the security forces group here," Goodman said. "This just seemed like the next logical step."
Once his squadron nominated Goodman for the position, he began the standard training program, which is the same for every convoy commander regardless of whether the candidate is National Guard or active-duty.
While in training, Goodman participated in a ride-along program for both exercises, and operational missions involving convoys. It was this type of shadowing that gave him the hands-on experience needed before taking charge.
"Captain Goodman's training, certification and standardization evaluation process to become a convoy commander was exactly identical to his active-duty counterparts," said Col. Kevin Cullen, the 91st SFG commander, who describes the event as a perfect example of total force integration.
"Every convoy that goes out, regardless of what day it is, that is the most important thing happening in the state of North Dakota at that time," Cullen said. "Captain Goodman is now one of only three individuals entrusted with the responsibilities of a convoy commander."
Though Goodman is now responsible for some of the key elements to his nation's security, he said, he is not letting the added responsibility deter him from completing each mission, stating that the extra expectations just come with the job.
"Any time you talk about first-evers or one-of-a-kinds, there's always a little more pressure," Goodman said. "There's always going be a certain amount of pressure and stress to make sure the mission runs as perfectly as possible, because it is just that important."
To have a successful mission, the commander must act much like a conductor of an orchestra, coordinating a collective effort, Cullen said.
"There are a lot of different organizations involved, lots of parts and pieces," Cullen said. "They all have to become synchronized to have a perfect, successful mission."
Goodman's certification is an example of guardsmen and reservists performing more critical roles in Air Force missions, Cullen said. In this position, Goodman is bridging the gap between active-duty and National Guard missions.
"This has a tremendous effect on total force integration," Cullen said. "This is just another example of that, but probably the most prominent position as well as the one with the most responsibility."
As the 91st SFG and the 219th SFS continue to strengthen their teamwork, Goodman continues to train and gain the experience and knowledge, ensuring every mission is a success, Cullen added.
"Certification is a beginning, not an end." Goodman said. "It is constant improvement, constant learning, and constant gaining experience."