Training the world’s greatest F-16 pilots is no small feat. That’s why it is up to the Airmen who oversee the maintenance and those who operate the F-16s to come together and communicate with one another to keep the mission at Luke Air Force Base going strong.
To accomplish this, a team of two Airmen from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, traveled to Luke Dec. 3 to bring Airmen together in a seminar-type environment called the Mission Generation Road Course. This two-day course was created to increase working knowledge and improve the relationship between those who operate the aircraft and maintainers. There were 24 Airmen who attended this course.
According to Maj. Chad Oba, 363rd Training Squadron MGRC director, it is their job to provide each active-duty base with this mandatory course every 18 months, traveling to approximately 30 bases a year.
“At Luke, we are teaching operators a little bit about maintenance, and on the other side, we are teaching maintenance a little bit about operators,” he said. “We do this because sometimes there are conflicts, and we are trying to ease the issues by developing relationships between the Airmen.”
As well as having an open forum to discuss concerns in each career field, the course also covered information which would have otherwise been unknown to the Airmen.
“For me, the highlight was learning about operational scheduling and training requirements,” said Capt. David Breuer, 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron maintenance operations officer. “It was also a great experience for the maintainers to learn about the ready aircrew program, which drives many of the operational requirements in terms of the number of flights necessary to keep our pilots current and ready to fight.”
While maintainers learned about how the pilots function and schedule their classes, the operators also learned from those who worked on the aircraft.
“It was great for the operators to learn more about our constraints and gain a better understanding of maintenance scheduling,” Breuer said. “You could really tell just by looking around the room that the Airmen were engaged and eager to learn the tools and gain the understanding that can help us win as a team.”
One of the most important factors to ensure mission readiness between the two careers is communication.
“Without communication the mission is impacted by flights not leaving,” Oba said. “It could also affect the overall health of the fleet.”
In addition to re-emphasizing the value of maintaining an open line of communication, another positive aspect of the course is that the information learned will be taken back to the AMUs and squadrons by those who attended the seminar.
“The information I learned during the past two days will be passed down to my shop, so they can get good insight and understanding of all the operational concerns,” Breuer said. “This will allow us to better support the flying mission we have here at Luke.”
For Breuer, the course wasn’t just about learning, but about making connections with people.
“The course material was great and the instructors were top notch, but the best outcome was the personal connections made amongst the people there,” he said. “Learning who our teammates are as people and what is important to them, gives both sides the understanding and connections to really make a difference. It’s all about trust, teamwork and communication.”