JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
The majority of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft maintainers are trained at the 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 5 here.
373rd TRS Det. 5 has 11 Maintenance Training Devices (MTDs) on site. MTDs are sections of the C-17 for the students to train in a safe and controlled setting while developing their technical skills. The hands-on training helps familiarize students with the aircraft and its key parts. An additional 373rd TRS field training detachment is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
“Every member in this detachment has a unique contribution to the training mission,” U.S. Air Force Capt. Christina Bausch, 373rd TRS Det. 5 commander. “Whether they are physically instructing or their current duties require them to build new classes and enhance the current ones.”
Students trained by the detachment have varying backgrounds and levels of military experience. It is up to the instructors to prepare them for their operational duties.
“I’m trying to take them from the level of having zero knowledge, zero hands on experience. That most basic of experiences in life and turn them into a qualified maintainer that can be useful out there on the flightline,” said U.S. Staff Sgt. Austin Barkdoll, C-17 crew chief instructor. “Some people are really smart, but might be really bad with their hands. Some people have never touched a wrench, they come here to be aircraft mechanics and have never touched tools.”
The instructors have an eight-hour teaching day with their students as well as class preparation.
“A normal day starts at 7 a.m. I come in at about 6:30 a.m. and set up the room or trainer that we are going to be using for the day,” said Barkdoll. “We go through risk management, safety, core values, and Warrior Ethos in the morning. It is a really big thing for AETC for us to get them on the same page every day. Get them ready to learn.”
The 373rd TRS Det. 5 has awarded more than 2,500 Community College of the Air Force credits for graduating students this year. They provide C-17 Globemaster III initial skills crew chief training, Advanced skills technical training, International training, and are the only U.S. Air Force C-17 Trainer Development Team for crew chiefs.
“Our training ensures C-17 global mobility can exist, we aim to constantly improve our training techniques to assure we are placing knowledgeable, high speed maintainers out on the line globally to generate C-17 mobility across the fleet,” said Bausch.