Creech detachment saves Air Force money, enhances maintenance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adarius Petty
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Maintaining fully trained Airmen for the U.S. Air Force's remotely piloted aircraft enterprise is a daunting task.

For Detachment 13 of 372nd Training Squadron providing follow up training for maintenance personnel of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper enterprise here at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, is a top priority. 

"Det 13 Operation Location A (OL-A) provides maintenance training to the remotely piloted aircraft initiative," said Master Sgt. Christopher, Det 13 OL-A section chief. "Crew Chiefs, Avionics, Weapons and Communications courses are offered from our staff of six Air Education and Training Command (AETC) instructors."

RPA maintainers begin training at the 372nd TRS, Sheppard AFB, Texas, where they learn technical aircraft maintenance using classroom and hands-on practical instruction. The detachment also offers training for Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, allied forces and students en route to Pacific Air Forces.

Assigned instructors provide training on A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15C Eagle, F-15EStrike Eagle, F-16C Fighting Falcon, F-22A Raptor, HH-60G Pave Hawk and MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft.

"Classes taught the most at the operating location are MQ-9 communications and MQ-9 mechanics. The commons course offers system knowledge to all RPA maintainers," Christopher said. "The mechanics class offers advanced maintenance training on the MQ-9 systems and subsystems for crew chiefs."

The MQ-1 and MQ-9 systems classes enhance the RPA enterprise by training the caretakers of the aircraft. The MQ-9 communications class teaches students the basic system overview and the theory of operation of the aircraft systems. In the mechanics class, the students perform hands on maintenance on the landing gear, propeller, and airframe components.

The avionics course teaches specialists theory of operation of electrical systems and electronics, as well as hands-on maintenance. The weapons course teaches troubleshooting and system specific knowledge.

Approximately 12 to 20 students come through each month; currently nine students are training in three classes. Having an operating location at Creech is more cost efficient compared to sending the students on temporary deployments for training.
"Providing current instruction at Creech is saving the Air Force $291,000 a year in TDY cost," said Christopher.

Christopher went on to say the most interesting part about his job is the interactions with the students."Many of them are still young in the Air Force and we get to experience people from all different backgrounds," he said. 

The training implemented depends on the training that is produced this year for the 432nd Maintenance Squadron and also what is projected for the rest of the year.