LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
The 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron reinstated the Dedicated Crew Chief program Feb. 6, 2020, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.
In a formal induction ceremony, a total of 28 DCCs and 26 Assistant DCCs were appointed to the position and assumed responsibility of their assigned aircraft.
“The DCC program is a time-honored Air Force tradition dating back to World War II when maintainers were assigned to an individual aircraft and responsible for getting it prepped and ready to accomplish the mission,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Keith Schiesz, 19th AMXS officer in charge of the dragons aircraft maintenance unit.
This program empowers Airmen to delegate responsibility ensuring each aircraft is well maintained, receives up-to-date inspections and undergoes required heavy maintenance.
“DCCs are the tip of the spear for the 19th AMXS,” Schiesz said. “Each applicant goes through a rigorous qualification process where we look at sustained superior performance, adherence to technical data, quality assurance records, safety history, and many other reports to ensuring the best of the best are selected.”
Ownership is solidified by marking the name of the DCC and ADCC on the aircraft for which they are responsible.
Throughout the process of reinstating the program, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman English Strange, 19th AMXS crew chief, now a DCC, played an integral role. As a new Airman, she received on-the-job training from her mentor on one specific aircraft. Familiarizing herself with the ins and outs of a single aircraft allowed her to easily assess and fix problems faster than jumping from aircraft to aircraft, she recalled.
“The DCC program instills true pride into being a crew chief and a maintainer,” Strange said. “Having my name on that aircraft brings me that sense of ‘I want to do it, and I want to do it right.’”
Through alleviating some of the day-to-day stressors of fixing a multitude of problems on different aircraft, DCCs are able to spend more time properly training ADCCs to become experts in their craft.
“Each aircraft has its own personality, just like we each have our own personalities,” Strange said. “Our belief is the aircraft is only as good as the maintainer who’s on it.”
The program also holds a special place in the heart of former DCC, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Donald Hudson, 19th AMXS commander.
“Being a DCC is one of the most impactful positions in delivering airpower,” Hudson said. “You are going to get to know all the intricacies and form a symbiotic relationship between you and the aircraft.”
While many of the DCC’s and ADCC’s are crew chiefs, the role is not exclusively slotted to them. Maintainers are selected on the basis of initiative, technical knowledge, management and leadership ability, regardless of their respective Air Force specialty code.
“I was able to see the DCC program executed in a deployed environment,” Strange said. “It allows us to perform at a better rate, which in turn, allows our aircrafts to perform at a better rate.”
The DCC program is one of the many Airmen-empowered initiatives that helps inspire a culture of trust, and accountability, infused with a warrior ethos — a priority for U.S Air Force Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing commander.
“The mission for this wing is to project and sustain agile combat airlift — we as a base are in the business of Combat Airlift, and you are the core of that mission — you should take great pride in that,” Schutte said to the newly inducted DCCs. “We couldn’t do what we do without the hard work, sweat and toil that you put in every day to make sure these aircraft are mission ready.”