Young or Old, 100th MXG Maintainers Pursue Excellence

May 6, 2019
The Phase I program qualifies Airmen in about 75 percent of tasks needed for upgrading their skill level.

It’s a new day on the RAF Mildenhall flight line, and new opportunities to continue the mission and keep jets in the air are everywhere for Airmen who call this place home.

They arrive fresh-faced and prepared to take on any challenges in the hopes of curbing any maintenance or logistical issues, which may arise and could cause mission stoppage. 

However, along with providing support to the fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, there are crops of Airmen who must tackle proficiency training as well. Yet, they show the never-ending willingness to perform at the highest level and bring pride to Team Mildenhall.

“I’m proud to be part of such a great group of maintenance Airmen,” said Airman 1st Class Noah Johnson, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron instrument and flight controls apprentice. “Being tasked with supporting our fleet, while also working to complete my upgrade training, has provided myself and others the chance to work hard.”

According to leadership at RAF Mildenhall, only 48 percent of all 100th Maintenance Group Airmen are fully qualified through both qualification and upgrade training. 

“Our Airmen are able to work hard on the flight line, and with time constraints having gone away, they are also able to learn their job in a proper manner and become proficient,” said Master Sgt. Lee Glenk, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent.

Airmen are required to be signed off on multiple training business area tasks related to their career field.

“Tasks include recovery of aircraft, calling flight controls prior to a launch, marshaling aircraft,” said Tech. Sgt. Derek Squitieri, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight line expediter. “Then they move onto career-specific tasks, such as removing and installing components of an aircraft, performing operational checks to make sure jets are good to go, among other tasks.”

Furthermore, Airmen are required to follow technical orders, with a trainer overseeing their work, for them to be signed off on tasks.

Additionally, for young Airmen who are trying to achieve proficiency, they go through the Phase I training program, which began here almost a year ago.

“This has been key in eliminating a lot of upgrade training time needed,” Glenk explained. “We send a group of Airmen, three to five at a time, to this program for a set amount of time where they can be signed off on particular tasks.“

Even though they may not be with us physically each day, they’re put into classroom and flight line settings, instructed by qualified trainers who’ve been in their shoes and this has produced quality-trained Airmen.”

The Phase I program qualifies Airmen in about 75 percent of tasks needed for upgrading their skill level.

“Each day we’re creating a very proficient maintenance force,” Squitieri expressed. “I see a lot of motivation from the youngest Airmen to those who are almost fully qualified. There is a strong willingness to learn, be coached and an understanding to come to work prepared and get the mission done.”

Staff Sgt. Trevor Woodruff, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, agreed.

“We must ensure our jets are available to provide fuel for a range of contingencies that arise in our area of responsibility,” Woodruff stated. “Team Mildenhall is constantly postured for real world scenarios and our Airmen, both young and old, are prepared to meet every challenge.”