EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron specialist flight created a program called "Cut Training" to train Airmen from different maintenance career fields to perform crew chief tasks and keep the mission going.
Senior Airman Terrence Lawrence, a 354th AMXS aircraft electrical and environmental systems journeyman, was the first Airman to complete the program.
"I was cross utilized, because crew chiefs are 50 percent undermanned," Lawrence explained.
Lawrence is fully certified on refueling, launch and recovery, turnover, pre-flights and through flights along with almost all crew chief tasks.
"It's a little stressful when I actually launch the aircraft myself, because if I mess up one thing the jet can't launch," Lawrence said. “So, I have to make sure to check everything correctly."
Now that Lawrence is trained in two different fields he has become an added resource for his unit.
"The program is used to help elevate the current manning issue," said Tech. Sgt. Neske, 354th AMXS section chief. "Lawrence was the first Airman chosen, because he proved himself as one of the best electrical and environmental systems maintainer."
With the knowledge of his original career field, if Lawrence notices an environmental or electrical issue while launching a jet as a crew chief, it can be fixed on the spot.
"The best part is, I can be versatile for my entire flight," Lawrence said. "I can launch an aircraft, and if a ‘red ball’ comes in, I can catch it at the same time."
A “red ball” is a term used when an aircraft is about to launch and the crew chief finds something wrong. If possible, the crew chief fixes the issue right away to ensure the mission can continue.
With additional knowledge from the training program, Lawrence gained more responsibilities and a new outlook on his career and future.
"I honestly wasn't always the best Airman," Lawrence said. "Now that I've changed my attitude about my job and how things work here, I'm trying a lot harder. It feels good to be recognized and feel a little bit more needed. It's great working hard, becoming a good Airman and being needed at my job; it's a world of difference."