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Yokota Airmen: Agile, skilled, ready

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrett Smith
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Crew chiefs today are working in more austere environments than ever before and are leaving a smaller footprint with fewer (but more agile) resources. This type of flexibility garners a need for some extra helping hands, so the 374th Maintenance Group developed the Multi-Capable Airmen Training Program, or MCATP, a course for flightline Airmen to learn and practice crew chief duties.

The four-week course is still in its trial phase but is open to Yokota active-duty maintenance volunteers. The training specifically focuses on training flightline Airmen to support aircrew when needed, like in remote areas with limited resources.

“We’re taking our non-crew chief personnel and training them up on crew chief tasks, so they’ll be able to assist if and when the need arises,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Tedder, 374th Maintenance Group maintenance training instructor. “If something were to divert all of our crew chiefs away from Yokota, these Airmen can take over the tasks and keep the planes maintained.”

MCATP consists of both classroom and hands-on training, allowing Airmen to learn and apply concepts to practical scenarios on the flightline.

Airmen in the program acquire training in nine different sections, such as inspections, aircraft fuel systems, servicing, system operation, and production team maintenance. They also learn how to perform tasks in towing and jacking, ground handling, MIS input and documentation, and aircraft configuration.

“We see crew chiefs doing these tasks pretty much every day, so we have a rough understanding of what is required,” said Senior Airman William Mcrae, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130 avionics journeyman. “But it’s not until you actually look at the step-by-step process of what’s required and actually get hands-on experience that you actually understand and can execute if needed.”

By the end of the course, Airmen in MCATP are certified to assist with tasks from outside of their career fields, allowing them to use their new skills to support the Yokota airlift mission in ways they couldn’t before.

“I think it allows us to be more versatile,” said Mcrae. “Having this training, we are ready and able to lend a hand if our crew chiefs need help.”

The MCATP is still relatively new but is expected to be fully approved and more broadly implemented later this year.