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Multi-Capable Airmen course innovates airpower capabilities

U.S. service members from the 18th Wing demonstrate expedient spall-repair knowledge during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. The MCA course, the first of its kind at Kadena, includes classroom education but distinctly focuses on hands-on training.

U.S. service members from the 18th Wing demonstrate expedient spall-repair knowledge during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. The MCA course, the first of its kind at Kadena, includes classroom education but distinctly focuses on hands-on training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte)

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Chaz Wise, a quality assurance evaluator from the 18th Logistic Readiness Squadron, instructs Senior Airman Jamaila Centino, a member from the 18th Wing Security Forces Squadron, on refueling procedures during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 26, 2021. The MCA course is conducted over five days, and includes three tiers of training, each more in-depth than the last.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Chaz Wise, a quality assurance evaluator from the 18th Logistic Readiness Squadron, instructs Senior Airman Jamaila Centino, a member from the 18th Wing Security Forces Squadron, on refueling procedures during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 26, 2021. The MCA course is conducted over five days, and includes three tiers of training, each more in-depth than the last.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Hayden McAbee, an F-15 avionics technician from the 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, mixes mortar for expedient spall repair during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. Expedient spall repair quickly repairs holes enabling jets to continue to use the airfield.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Hayden McAbee, an F-15 avionics technician from the 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, mixes mortar for expedient spall repair during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. Expedient spall repair quickly repairs holes enabling jets to continue to use the airfield.

U.S. service members from the 18th Wing practice assembling a multi-use tent during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 24, 2021. This training is a part of the “beddown procedures” portion of the course, preparing Airmen to set up facilities in any location necessary.

U.S. service members from the 18th Wing practice assembling a multi-use tent during a Multi-Capable Airmen course exercise, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 24, 2021. This training is a part of the “beddown procedures” portion of the course, preparing Airmen to set up facilities in any location necessary.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tyler Pillmore, the Agile Combat Employment section chief from the 18th Wing, briefs the Multi-Capable Airmen course participants on the next scheduled training at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. The MCA course broadens Airmen’s skills beyond their current Air Force specialty code, supporting the Agile Combat Employment concept.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tyler Pillmore, the Agile Combat Employment section chief from the 18th Wing, briefs the Multi-Capable Airmen course participants on the next scheduled training at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Feb. 25, 2021. The MCA course broadens Airmen’s skills beyond their current Air Force specialty code, supporting the Agile Combat Employment concept.

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

Thirty-two Kadena Airmen participated in the 18th Wing’s first Multi-Capable Airmen training course supporting the Agile Combat Employment concept at Kadena Air Base, Feb. 22-26, 2021.

This innovative course enables Airmen to perform duties outside their Air Force specialty code, allowing for smaller, more efficient teams, which has the capacity to change how the Air Force generates airpower.

“MCA is taking multiple AFSCs, and taking them completely out of their norm to learn other AFSCs – to be able to pack up and leave from Kadena and support the mission at a different location with fewer people,” said Master Sgt. Tyler Pillmore, 18th Wing ACE section chief.

The MCA course combines classroom instruction and applied learning, with a distinct focus on practical application to provide training in operations such as expedient airfield repair, tent assembly, or communications flyaway kit set-up.

“It’s been really awesome, especially the hands-on parts,” said Senior Airman Hayden McAbee, an F-15 avionics technician from the 44th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “It’s crazy how many moving parts there are within the machine of a TDY or a deployment. It’s nice knowing where my job fits into the big Air Force, and knowing that we can all learn those moving parts to enter into the new generation of war-fighting.”

Over the course of five days, Airmen complete three tiers of training, each more in-depth than the last.

Day one consists of tier-one training, which includes a basic introduction and familiarization of what ACE is. The last four days are tier-two and tier-three training which explores the practical and operational applications expected of Multi-Capable Airmen.

“Prior to this – or even historically – some Airmen made it through their whole career without really touching an aircraft or understanding where they fit. This will create a greater sense of ownership, enterprise-wide,” said Senior Master Sgt. Frank Uecker, 18th Wing ACE superintendent. “Everybody will understand from a Multi-Capable Airman standpoint, ‘hey, I really get it here, this is my role, and now that I understand what everybody does, I understand why they're important too.’”

Looking forward, ACE is not just a buzzword to describe innovation, but has the potential to be a part of the education of every Airman in-processing to Kadena, Uecker explained.

“The end goal is making sure that we break away from the typical mindset of ‘I’m a maintainer, and that’s what I do’ or ‘I’m a CE Dirtboy and that’s what I do – and only that,’ and to really look at what it takes to generate airpower in an agile manner,” Uecker said. “I think big picture, that’s an Air Force-wide effort.”