News>Instructors enhance capability to fly, fight and win
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Bouse, left, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 23 weapons instructor, instructs Airman 1st Class Jerrion Roque, 35th Maintenance Squadron armament systems apprentice, to measure certain areas of a 14 inch hook with a dial caliper at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 10, 2012. The hooks are used to hold bombs onto an aircraft, and if they are not calibrated correctly, it could cause damage to the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins/Released)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Luis Cantu, left, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 23 fuels systems and hydrogen instructor, shows Staff Sgt. Josiah Garth, 35th Maintenance Operations Squadron maintenance trainer flight propulsion instructor, an engine feed system at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 10, 2012. The engine feed system ensures a stable fuel flow and prevents an imbalance in the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
4/13/2012 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 35th Maintenance Group's mission is to provide safe and reliable aircraft, equipment and munitions to train the world's finest F-16 pilots and crew chiefs. However, they cannot do their job without the 372nd Training Squadron to strengthen their maintenance capabilities by broadening maintainers' knowledge on aircraft function.
The purpose of the 372 TRS is to provide in-depth training that enables Airmen to perform top maintenance on Misawa's F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
"We get a lot of new people coming in from different bases that don't have any F-16 experience," said Master Sgt. Shawn Osbourn, 372 TRS Detachment 23 detachment chief. "So, we give them the training they need to go and do their job on a daily basis."
At the 372 TRS, instructors qualify all maintainers from the 35 MXG and any maintainers who are in transit to bases in the Pacific Air Forces that don't have experience with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Instructors spend approximately 7,000 hours per year training Airmen, and they graduate approximately 280 students a year. The courses they offer count towards Community College of the Air Force credits.
"We teach seven different career fields here, so it's a broad spectrum of the F-16 community," said Osbourn.
The career fields that instructors train include avionics, aerospace ground equipment, engines, weapons, fuels, crew chiefs and electrical and environmental. Although the number of days a student spends in class may vary, classes are generally eight hours long and teach no more than six students.
On the flightline, maintainers receive constant on-the-job training, but in a classroom environment, instructors are able to give students the hands-on training they need to help enhance their knowledge and understanding of the equipment they work with.
"I believe this training will help me a lot because the instructors go in-depth on how things work and what makes the aircraft tick," said Airman 1st Class Mario Romero-Sheran, 35th Maintenance Squadron armament systems apprentice. "If something goes wrong with the aircraft, it will be easier for us to fix because we'll have knowledge of how it works."
Airmen are not the only ones to get a sense of accomplishment when graduating these courses. To the instructors, this is more than just doing a good job. It is about training skilled maintainers and watching them use the knowledge they learned in the courses to make aircraft a reliable asset to the wing's mission.
"It's really fulfilling when students pick up, learn, and are able to take what I teach in my classroom back out to the flightline," said Master Sgt. Robert Patterson, 372 TRS Det. 23 avionics instructor.