SAVANNAH, Ga. --
More than 270 Air National Guardsmen from multiple states completed four days of intensive training here May 19 to 22, honing their aircraft maintenance skills on everything from propulsion systems and avionics to hydraulics and ground equipment.
The annual event, known as Maintenance University, was sponsored by the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing and provided training to Airmen from Kentucky, the Texas Air Guard’s 136th Airlift Wing, the Missouri Air Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing and the Georgia Air Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing.
“This type of course is a tremendous value to each Guard unit and the National Guard Bureau because of the large amount of specialized training we can provide to so many Airmen in such a short period of time,” said Lt. Col. Chris Bishop, commander of Kentucky’s 123rd Aircraft Maintenance squadron and the course detachment commander.
The school, held at the Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center, emphasized hands-on training for a variety of C-130 Hercules aircraft systems, using subject matter experts to teach small groups of Airmen who rotated through the various courses.
As important as the training was, Maintenance University offered another equally important benefit: building relationships with other C-130 units in the Air National Guard.
“The hands-on training with counterparts in other units is fundamental to this experience, especially for the more junior Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Hollis Sellman, 136th maintenance operations flight chief.
Sellman was so pleased with the experience of her 55 Airmen, she said the unit will be back next year.
Many junior airmen agreed that the course work is both valuable and interesting.
“This is my first TDY, and it’s great to mesh with other units,” said Senior Airman Josiah Hatcher, a crew chief from the 123rd Airlift Wing. “Plus the hands-on style training enabled instructors to teach tasks that can’t always get accomplished during drill weekend, including how to do a generator swap, and I need to know that as a crew chief.”
Students also spent time learning how to write performance reports, navigate the Defense Travel System website and attend to their physical fitness with classes on health and well-being.
“This is a wonderful venue, without the distractions of other events during drill weekend,” said Lynn Edwards, Kentucky’s director of psychological health.
She taught a class titled “Sleep, Stress and Shots,” and many walked away saying they wanted to change their alcohol consumption and sleeping habits.
“This is the first year I’ve taught Airmen outside our unit, and the feedback was that they really to enjoyed the class,” Edwards said.
Also new this year, the Air National Guard sent a mobile instruction team to teach the Maintenance Supervision and Production course to 28 senior maintainers from seven wings. This six-day course teaches 19 lessons and is accredited by the Community College of the Air Force.