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Maintenance University sharpens skills with joint training in Puerto Rico

Master Sgt. Chuck Rodgers (right), a propulsion elements supervisor from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Mike Hasson, an aerospace maintenance craftsman from the same unit, install engine panels on a C-130 Hercules at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 13, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Master Sgt. Chuck Rodgers (right), a propulsion elements supervisor from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Mike Hasson, an aerospace maintenance craftsman from the same unit, install engine panels on a C-130 Hercules at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 13, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Pinkerton, an aerospace propulsion craftsman from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron, trains Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing on the maintenance and repair of C-130 Hercules aircraft engines at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 14, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Pinkerton, an aerospace propulsion craftsman from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Squadron, trains Airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing on the maintenance and repair of C-130 Hercules aircraft engines at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 14, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Senior Airman Eric Burk (left) and Master Sgt. Judson Wisely, loadmasters from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Operations Group, simulate an airdrop June 14, 2021, over mountain terrain in Puerto Rico as part of Maintenance University. Kentucky aircrews also re-certified on low-level tactical maneuvers and open-ocean flying during the week-long event. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

Senior Airman Eric Burk (left) and Master Sgt. Judson Wisely, loadmasters from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Operations Group, simulate an airdrop June 14, 2021, over mountain terrain in Puerto Rico as part of Maintenance University. Kentucky aircrews also re-certified on low-level tactical maneuvers and open-ocean flying during the week-long event. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Bryant, a guidance and control specialist with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group, teaches a course on C-130 Hercules autopilot systems June 13, 2021, at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Bryant, a guidance and control specialist with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group, teaches a course on C-130 Hercules autopilot systems June 13, 2021, at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

An Airman from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Contingency Response Group marshals a C-130 Hercules aircraft using night-vision equipment at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 15, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive course, joining with members of the Puerto Rico Air Guard for night-vision training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

An Airman from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Contingency Response Group marshals a C-130 Hercules aircraft using night-vision equipment at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 15, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive course, joining with members of the Puerto Rico Air Guard for night-vision training. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Wear)

Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s Public Affairs Office capture photos and video during a familiarization flight aboard a 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules over Puerto Rico on June 14, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 150 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s Public Affairs Office capture photos and video during a familiarization flight aboard a 123rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules over Puerto Rico on June 14, 2021, as part of Maintenance University. More than 150 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Col. Tom Funk (right), chief of the Aircraft Maintenance Division at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, talks with Col. Ash Groves, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group, at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 15, 2021, during Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Col. Tom Funk (right), chief of the Aircraft Maintenance Division at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, talks with Col. Ash Groves, commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group, at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 15, 2021, during Maintenance University. More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air Guard trained on career-specific proficiencies during the intensive week-long course. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group completed a week of intensive aircraft maintenance training at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 16, 2021. The annual field-training course is called Maintenance University. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Maintenance Group completed a week of intensive aircraft maintenance training at Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on June 16, 2021. The annual field-training course is called Maintenance University. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

CAROLINA, Puerto Rico -- More than 130 Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard completed a week of intensive aircraft maintenance training here June 12-18, honing proficiencies in a joint field environment while avoiding the distractions of home station.

The annual event, called Maintenance University, featured classes on everything from changing the tires on C-130H Hercules aircraft to repairing sophisticated autopilot equipment, said Lt. Col. James Embry, commander of the Louisville, Kentucky-based 123rd Maintenance Squadron.

The training allowed citizen-Airmen from Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing to enhance their C-130 maintenance skills prior to the unit’s upcoming transition to the C-130J, while also giving them the opportunity to train alongside maintainers from the Puerto Rico Air Guard’s new Contingency Response Group.

“The Puerto Rico Air Guard has provided a great location with a ramp that fits our requirements for training, classrooms, facilities, a fire response capability and security forces,” Embry said. “It’s a perfect environment for us to not only get our maintainers up to career field standards, but we can also expand upon our training into the Contingency Response environment as well.”

This year’s MXU curriculum was designed by shop chiefs to meet individual training needs while eliminating the competing obligations of a typical drill weekend back home.

“For those of us who are traditional Guardsmen, this is a really good opportunity for us to spend a week and focus solely on this training,” said Airman 1st Class Audrey Parios, a C-130 crew chief. “This is a great chance to have everyone in the same place to meet, network, and learn from each other away from the distractions at home.”

Airmen from the Puerto Rico Air Guard’s 156th Wing also appreciated the opportunity to train with maintainers from the Kentucky wing, which also is home to a Contingency Response Group.

As the 156th works to stand up a full Contingency Response Group in the coming years, the 123rd was also able to supply C-130s and CRG-qualified maintainers to train Puerto Rico maintainers on night-vision marshaling.

“It’s fortunate for us that the 123rd has a CRG with C-130 maintainers,” noted Col. Joelee Sessions, commander of the 156th Contingency Response Group. “When this crew comes here, they are bringing expertise from the CR world to help us train our folks.

“One of my goals is to get our maintainers and crew chiefs’ hands back onto aircraft so that they are fully familiarized, so that when we go on the road as a CRG, they are comfortable handling the aircraft that come in and accomplishing the mission.”