Defining MCA training for Fairchild’s mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Morgan Dailey
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing

A team of six Airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base participated in the 509th Weapons School Integration 23A exercise to test tanker-specific multi-capable airmen training and practice agile combat employment concepts.

Fairchild’s MCA program is developing specific MCA tier three training, creating Tanker Support Elements or Tanker Drop-in Teams. The goal of the program is to create a 12 Airmen team who are agile, cross-trained, and capable of providing support for tanker and ground refueling operations in austere and contested environments.

“This training gave us the ability to integrate and learn how to do each other’s job,” said Senior Master Sgt. Seth Runyon, 92nd Mission Support Group Multi-Capable Airmen program manager. “We pull specialties from across this wing and form one tiny team of subject matter experts. The team members provide expertise for what they do and overlap skills to accomplish the mission with the smallest footprint possible.”

While tier one and tier two of MCA training consist of general and AFSC specific training, tier three has minimally prescribed formal training. Fairchild’s MCA program is creating and defining the mission specific tier three training for Fairchild and the KC-135 Stratotanker.

“The goal of MCA tier 3 training is about decreasing our footprint, taking a smaller group of individuals into a forward operating base or an austere location and be able to perform the tasks at hand,” said Tech Sgt. James Garwood, 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief manager. “It allows us all to have basic knowledge within each other’s career fields to assist when required.”

Fairchild is developing their tier three multi-capable airmen training where Airmen will train in advanced readiness skills outside their core Air Force Specialty Code including mission generation, command and control, base operating support, and other Wing mission specific areas. The TSE team was not provided any MCA tier three training prior to leaving, each Airman completed radio, marshalling, refuel process and systems, and grounding aircraft training while at Vandenberg.

“The most rewarding part of the training for me was watching the faces of my peers as they properly perform maintenance tasks on aircraft. The look of joy and excitement really makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something bigger,” said Garwood. “We had Communications and POL performing aircraft recoveries, preparing the jet for inspections, and numerous tasks involved in getting the aircraft air worthy again.”

While at Vandenberg, the team was able to practice a ‘hub and spoke’concept with Nellis Air Force Base. Airmen from Nellis flew to the ‘spoke’, Vandenberg, to provide required equipment to the TSE team who was setting up their communications systems.

Although the team focuses on basic maintenance to support the tankers needs, each Airmen is equipped to survive, defend themselves, and launch the aircraft back to the ‘hub.’

“I am really grateful the 509th WPS extended an invitation to exercise our MCA objectives during WSINT-23A,” said Runyon. “I’m excited about what the future holds for the program and our mission partners.”

MCA and ACE concepts were 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 is focused on implementing, specific to the KC-135 mission of providing Rapid Global Mobility, anytime, anywhere.

“The most challenging part of this training is convincing everyone that people outside of their AFSC who have potentially never seen the equipment before are going to work on the aircraft,” said Runyon. “The point of this program is to fight, win, and bring our people home from the next war, and we must figure out where those areas of risk acceptance are. This program is one of the ways which we will identify and accept or mitigate risk.”