Missouri and New York Air National Guard team up for Maintenance University

  • Published
  • By Ms. Jaclyn Lyons
  • 109th Airlift Wing

Maintenance Airmen assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing spent the first week of August training in Gulfport, Mississippi where they teamed up with the Missouri Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing for some intensive training, dubbed maintenance university.

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 of Biloxi, Mississippi from July 31- August 5, 2023.

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

The 139th flew in two C-130H and the 109th flew in one LC-130H to do hands-on training. Airmen from both units taught classes in their specialized skill sets and some contractors were brought in to give another level of training in the classroom.

“Instead of having a crew chief that's been doing the job for ten 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. Lieutenant James Cappadora, 109th maintenance officer.

“The goal is to increase their knowledge of the airframe completely,” he said.

The training covered everything from general tasks such as marshaling aircraft and launch and recovery, to more specific skillsets. Hydraulics- for both the wheeled aircraft and the specialized skis on the LC-130- and propulsion- the engines and propellers that power the enormous planes- were two of the main topics.

Cappadora explained that when the 109th sends crews to Greenland and Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze, they go in small numbers. So the broader knowledge this training gives really helps when maintenance personnel are limited in the remote regions that the 109th operates in.

The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft make it 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 Amn. Shannon Jackson, a hydraulics specialist and expert with 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- everyone is so knowledgeable on what they do and it was fun to get to showcase my skills,” he said.

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 explained that while the training is helpful, a major goal of the week is an opportunity for networking.

“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 in the planning stages for next year’s maintenance university.