Airpower starts with Airmen

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber
  • 355 Wing Public Affairs

Leadership from the 355th Maintenance Group recently came up with a course designed to help A-10C Thunderbolt II maintainers at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Oct. 16-21, 2021.

The course designed is called Weapons Expert Course to help with physical and mental exhaustion, which were two issues identified within the maintenance squadrons. This was the first iteration of the Weapons Expert Course, which aims to solve these problems for future U.S. Air Force maintainers at all levels.

“This environment led to discussions between the 355th Medical Group, MXG and the Community Action Team, which is a group of resiliency organizations,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Marc Walker, 355th MXG commander. “They aim to improve maintainer-specific, service-delivery precision using lessons learned from the rescue and fighter squadrons’ relatively new human performance optimization programs.”

To improve physical performance, the course had physical therapists teach maintainers on how to properly lift. Using proper lift techniques would reduce back, leg, arm pain and on-the-job injuries. The second aspect of the course focused on how to minimize the maintainer’s mental exhaustion. Some of the maintainers linked their stressors to financial management and nutritional needs.

“This course is more of how to live as an Airman and how to be an adult,” said Senior Airman Taylor George, 355th MXG maintainer. “Because so many Airmen are coming right out of high school, and it’s really useful for them to know how to live and how to provide for themselves.”

Specifically, it taught maintainers and their families about financial aid, sleep enhancement, nutrition, and roles of leadership for younger and experienced non-commissioned officers, along with physical training exercises.

“For me, as a younger NCO, I now have more answers to give to my troops,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Malone, 355th MXG maintainer. “Instead of not knowing how to assist, I can help them out when they ask for it.”

Building these maintainers’ resiliency helps their way of life and ensures that they are better prepared for life’s everyday struggles. This course reinforces maintainers at all levels; senior enlisted leaders and supervisors who would invest in their Airmen’s personal development.