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Missouri, New York Air Guard team up for Maintenance Training

  • Published
  • By Jaclyn Lyons,
  • 109th Air Wing/Public Affairs

SCOTIA, N.Y. - Maintenance Airmen assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing trained in Gulfport, Mississippi, with the Missouri Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing the first week of August.

A total of 85 Airmen — 30 from the 109th and 55 from the 139th — traveled to the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, an Air Force training center just outside Biloxi, Mississippi, for intensive training dubbed Maintenance University.

Maintenance University is a collaboration with other Air National Guard units, specifically for units that fly C-130H models. This gives the Airmen who maintain these aircraft a chance to focus on the tasks and challenges of that particular airplane model.

The 139th flew in two C-130Hs and the 109th flew in one LC-130H for hands-on training. Airmen from both units taught classes in their specialized skill sets. Contractors provided another level of training in the classroom.

“Instead of having a crew chief that’s been doing the job for 10 years sitting in a marshaling class he has already taken, maybe they sit through an engine class where we have a Rolls Royce rep there to talk about our engines,” explained 1st. Lt. James Cappadora, 109th maintenance officer. “The goal is to increase their knowledge of the airframe completely.”

The training covered general tasks, such as marshaling aircraft and launch and recovery, as well as more specific skill sets. Two main topics were hydraulics for the wheeled aircraft and the specialized skis on the LC-130, and propulsion — the engines and propellers that power the enormous planes.

The ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft is the only one of its kind in the U.S. military able to land at the South Pole and remote interior locations in Antarctica and on the Greenland ice cap.

Senior Airman Shannon Jackson, a hydraulics specialist and expert on the LC-130 skis, went to teach a class on his specialty.

“It gave me the ability to show others how our system with the skis work and show what you know,” Jackson said. “Everyone is so knowledgeable on what they do and it was fun to get to showcase my skills.”

This was Jackson’s second year attending the training and his first year teaching one of the classes.

“The good thing about this training is you get to fine-tune your skills a little and learn some new things outside of your career field. But the most helpful part is seeing how other units do things and get some tidbits and helpful information from other people doing the job,” said Jackson.

Cappadora said while the training was helpful, networking was a key part of the week.

“It’s not all about just getting training tasks signed off. It’s also about cross-talk and networking with other units to help troubleshoot and reference each other in the future.”

The two units are already planning next year’s maintenance university.