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.”