JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- Throughout the year, more than 370 maintainers from eight different Air Force Specialty Codes attend advanced training courses at the 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 18.
The classes have no more than two students per course and are taught by 15 different subject-matter experts in their respective career fields.
“We have small classrooms, so the students can get focused, attentive training,” said Master Sgt. Corey Hayes, 372nd TRS, Det. 18 F-22 Raptor non-destructive inspection instructor. “It increases their proficiency level, making sure people understand the stuff we are telling them.”
The courses are part of a major command level training plan to advance the level of knowledge the students have and help them become more motivated with more knowledge of the field.
During the courses that last anywhere from two to 30 days, the students, who are mainly 5-level Airmen, learn more than advanced skills in their field.
“We go through warrior ethos, or Air Force history, things that give you reverence to being an American Airman and the mentorship they might not get during the typical day-to-day,” Hayes said. “These things will be useful in their career, as they put in more years in the Air Force, and enables them to pass it on to the next person.”
Students will get classroom time with their instructors, going in-depth into the information they will need to repair, examine or report on their aircraft. After the classroom time, they will get hands-on experience with training equipment, as well as some active aircraft.
Hayes feels the training equipment the school has is an effective way to train, as it mimics the real environment. The training equipment includes a life-size, inactive F-22 Raptor, an egress trainer and several other items.
Once the class progresses to the hands-on portion of the training, instructors will give the students a task to complete while instructors oversee the process.
“The students have a portable maintenance aide they use during each task,” said Staff Sgt. Oscar Bruck 372nd TRS, Det. 18 F-22 Raptor tactical aircraft maintenance specialist instructor. “The aide gives them a step-by-step on what to do on the aircraft, as well as allows them to log their work.”
The portable maintenance aide used during the course is the same one the maintainer will use on the flightline during real-world working.
Hayes said training people properly by teaching them why they do what they do and providing motivation is their main priority within the TRS.
“Sometimes on the flightline, you can get to the point where it can become mundane, doing the same thing day in day out,” he continued. “While here, they can see the why behind what they do--see that they are not only supporting the aircraft, but there is a person flying the aircraft.”