Team Fairchild implements MCA, ACE capabilities at civilian airfield for the first time

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kiaundra Miller
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Fairchild Airmen from 10 different career fields practiced multi-capable Airmen capabilities, hot-pit refueling, and agile combat employment at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Dec. 6-7, 2021. 

Team Fairchild was the first base in Air Mobility Command to implement hot-pit refueling, MCA, and ACE at a civilian airfield. Practicing these capabilities provides Airmen a variety of skillsets and trades outside of their career fields, improving and accelerating mission support in various locations and situations. 

“The concept of MCA is based on training Airmen outside of their Air Force special codes, enabling them to cross-utilize their skills to support different missions and multiple big picture roles within the ACE construct,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Ellyson, 92nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace and ground equipment technician.

The intent behind MCA is to expand Airmen knowledge beyond their main AFSC to broaden their scope of understanding, enabling them to operate without the Airmen with the specific AFSC present. 

“We’re not doing more with less; we’re building efficiencies within the system and we’re trying to build a lethal package to send down range to forward operating bases while still maintaining manning at a main operating base,” said Tech Sgt. James Shaffer, 92nd Operation Support Squadron boom operator and planner for integrating MCA.

The exercise specifically at the Moses Lake airport gave participants an understanding of their true capabilities to operate out of an unfamiliar location without the usual equipment available on installation.

“We’re simulating a remote environment where we don’t have the amenities of a fully-functioning Air Force base, so we’re having to make do with whatever we have,” Ellyson said. “We didn’t bring the equipment we usually bring on temporary duty assignments or deployments, so we have to coordinate with local agencies to get power equipment capabilities and anything we don’t have here to mitigate possible aircraft malfunctions.” 

MCA and ACE was originally developed under U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s,  action orders of “Accelerate Change or Lose,” a concept Fairchild leadership is focused on implementing and practicing on a grand scale.

“Fairchild is the lead wing when it comes to testing ACE, developing tactics, techniques, and procedures for the tanker community,” said Tech Sgt. James Shaffer, 92nd Operation Support Squadron boom operator and planner for integrating MCA. “We used a 13-person team to test what Airmen are capable of doing and how to further train at Fairchild for real-world scenarios.” 

In addition to strengthening knowledge on abilities Airmen are not familiar with, practicing MCA, ACE, and hot-pit refueling at a civilian air station builds and strengthens community partnerships for future endeavors. 

“Building these relationships with our community partners allows us to get better training instead of our crews operating and doing and seeing the same thing daily,” Shaffer said. “It gives us the opportunity to branch out to see and execute something unique and gives us a different approach to operate.

Our community partners are key to doing that.” Airmen expanding their knowledge on different AFSCs and how to accomplish operations out of a location other than home station ensures they are not only good enough today but are prepared for tomorrow’s fight.