19th AMXS uses OST as part of FCC prospect qualification

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Airmen from the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron participated in a 10-day off-station training exercise with the 41st Airlift Squadron and 19th Operations Support Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 29 - April 7.

The Airmen flew with the 41st AS to provide maintenance support for two C-130J Super Hercules during their daily training operations – performing pre-flight and post-flight checks and troubleshooting any problems that arose with the aircraft.

In addition to performing maintenance duties, leadership from the 19th AMXS viewed the OST as an opportunity to assess the capabilities of four prospective flying crew chiefs (FCCs) — crew chiefs who fly with the aircraft to ensure it completes its mission.

“The FCC program allows our Airmen to work hand-in-hand and interact with aircrew during the entirety of a mission,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Erwin, 19th AMXS Knights section FCC monitor. “It essentially allows us to further build the aircrews’ confidence in our work and form strong working relationships with them.”

The four prospects – Senior Airman John Messina, Senior Airman Mason Dieter, Senior Airman Demarious Reel and Airman 1st Class Brandon Garlitos – were inspected and graded on their job proficiency and ability to communicate and work with the aircrew throughout the trip, which culminated in their first of three check-flights, where their skills were put to the test.

“We got to watch them and in their natural element and see how they interacted with aircrew and aircraft while on the road, and how they conducted themselves on and off duty,” said Tech. Sgt. Cody Dorsey, 19th AMXS Dragons section expeditor. “Our FCCs along with our whole maintenance team performed flawlessly. Each plane was able to launch and execute its mission without any hiccups.”

After completing their next two check-rides, the prospects will enter an elite group of maintainers, accompanying the C-130J on missions to ensure the 19th Airlift Wing can project and sustain agile combat airlift.

“Our FCCs are comprised of the top ten percent of maintainers from across the squadron,” Erwin said.  “We will rely on them to go on the road and fix any issues the planes might have, while also keeping the aircrew comfortable that the plane is going to accomplish the mission. Without them, every time a plane broke on the road, we would have to waste time and money to send out a team of Airmen to go fix it.”

As the 19th AW continues to bolster its warfighting capabilities across the world, its aircraft will always rely on the FCCs to ensure that each plane can carry out its mission.

“The role of maintenance is crucial because without us here to take care of the aircraft, the mission wouldn’t happen,” Dorsey said. “No matter when or where, if you see a C-130 in the air, I can guarantee you that maintenance played a key role in putting it there.”