51st FSS produces multi-capable Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kevyn Allen
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 51st Force Support Squadron leaders crafted a multi-capable Airmen program directing three FSS Airmen to the 51st Civil Engineering Squadron in a 90-day program designed to develop and equip Airmen cultivating workforce talent.

This training opportunity challenged the Airmen to learn and return civil engineering skills to Airmen assigned to their shop, thus creating a larger pool of multi-capable Airmen. 

“I explain FSS like a Swiss Army knife,” said Lt. Col. Tameka Payne, 51st Force Support Squadron commander. “FSS has the tools and it's a matter of which tool do you want to employ at what moment to get maximum efficiency. Our outstanding team of SNCOs found a way to expand and maximize our capabilities.”

The FSS SNCOs relied on the expertise and coordination of Senior Master Sergeant Connell Henry, 51stFighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron flight chief, operations flight. His support along with many others were instrumental in providing the CE trainers available for FSS support.

Senior Airman Nehemiah Nash, 51st Force Support Squadron services journeyman, shared his personal experiences about how learning another career field could be beneficial for deployment operations and how she feels better prepared for her current job upon return. 

“I’ve worked with Airmen who’ve deployed a lot with FSS. They needed individuals who could operate certain vehicles, but they also said those individuals needed the necessary training to drive and keep an open mind about learning new skills,” said Nash. “Now that I’ve had the opportunity to train and operate in a different career field, I understand the nature of being flexible enough to handle additional responsibility.”

This program directly supports the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, General Charles “CQ” Brown’s multi-capable Airman initiative. This initiative aims to not only create Airmen capable of working outside their area of expertise, but also to give them valuable skills that they can bring back to their assigned Air Force Specialty Code.

“My experience with CE gave me the opportunity to get my hands dirty with a bunch of these tools, said Airman 1st Class John Munoz, 51st FSS services journeyman. I learned new things like installing drywall and drilling holes into walls and running cable. If there's a hole in the wall to be patched or we need to replace a roof leak, I feel confident on how to fix those things.”

The network between FSS and CE has developed bonds between Airmen outside of their career field. These bonds help Airmen grow as individuals, but also have the potential of aiding an entire installation.

“This multi-capable Airman program is important because of the wide range connections and perspective made from a different squadron to bring back to your own.” said Senior Airman Amanda Mendez, 51st Force Support Squadron services journeyman. “I understand that you’re simply not going to grow unless you come out of your comfort zone.”

Multi-capable Airmen will expand the flexibility of deployment capabilities, allowing the Air Force to be ready anywhere at any time. 

“Consider the following, what if we were tasked to forward deploy to an austere location?” asked Master Sgt. Ayana Hodges, 51st FSS Sustainment Services flight chief. “Would our forces be able to establish and operate a base?” 

By teaching Airmen more skills and specialties, it would simply take less Airmen to achieve the overall mission. 

“I recognized this entire program as a force multiplier,” said Hodges. “It goes without saying that a cross functional training partnership proved both advantageous and vital to the advancement of the multi-capable Airman concept.”