Specialized C-17 tech school prepares Airmen to execute global airlift mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylee Tyus
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Between the first tech school and first duty station, maintenance Airmen may undergo specialized training tailored to their specific Air Force specialty code (AFSC).

Instructors with the 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 12, provide year-round training to maintenance Airmen who are assigned to bases operating C-17 Globemaster III’s. This exclusive training equips Airmen with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to successfully execute today’s global airlift mission.

Like most jobs in the United States Air Force, it’s not necessary to be fluent in mechanics prior to going into a maintenance career field. The instructors will ensure they arm their students with the knowledge and skills they need to execute all missions.

“There’s a lot of diversity within maintenance,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kirstin Riley, a C-17 aircraft maintenance instructor with the 373rd TRS. “While you don’t have to have a large amount of mechanical experience or high mechanical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, there is still some level of mechanical aptitude required.”

The training is comprised of eight different AFSCs including aircraft fuel systems, aircraft hydraulic systems, aircraft electrical and environmental systems, communication and navigation systems, instrument and flight control systems, aerospace propulsion, airlift and special mission aircraft maintenance, and aerospace ground equipment.  There are 48 different courses that are taught at the schoolhouse. Most students only go through one or two courses. The courses have prerequisites that restrict them to specific AFSCs, meaning not every class is available to maintenance Airmen. After completing the 49-day training, the Airmen proceed to their next duty station.

“The difficulty of the courses varies based on how each student learns,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Skyler Hawkins, an instructor supervisor with the 373rd TRS. “Our goal is to give whoever we’re teaching a good foundational knowledge so they can leave here to a different unit and be an asset.”

Since this tech school is only one of two C-17 Globemaster III specific schools in the world, it plays a vital role in fulfilling 62d Airlift Wing mission priorities and the overarching goals of the Air force. It serves as the cornerstone of commitment to excellence in aircraft maintenance.

“They’re going to learn how to do things by the book,” said Riley. “Without this tech school along with all Air Force maintenance tech schools, there is no aircraft maintenance. We’re training the future generation of maintainers.”