Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dicemen walk in each other’s shoes

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

11/27/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- An F-22 Raptor squadron on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has implemented a program designed to help its pilots and maintainers better understand each other's mission.

The 3rd Wing's 90th Fighter Squadron and 90th Aircraft Maintenance Unit recently began an integration program allowing pilots to see what goes into maintaining their aircraft and maintainers to get a sense of what it takes to prepare to fly the technologically advanced fighter.

The first group of maintainers took part in the program Nov. 15.

"We're trying to give them an appreciation for what the [operations] side has to do," said Air Force Capt. Ryan Sivertsen, 90th FS fighter pilot. "All they really see is us stepping out to the jet, taking their jet airborne, bringing it back and that's it. So we're just trying to show them the work that goes into preparing for that flight, what we do to debrief and what our average day is like, just to try to help them gain an appreciation for that full picture."
Sivertsen said the program initially began during a deployment this past summer when pilots got to step into the roles of maintainers.

"It was nice to learn about the different aspects that I don't really see," he said. "I understand that I need this stuff for the system, but I don't really ever get to get my hands dirty and actually change the oil, see how missiles are loaded and things like that. Instead, I just know what to look for. But now, I actually know all the work that goes into getting a fully functional jet."

The goal of the program is to get everyone in the 90th on the same page, the squadron's commander explained.

"The idea is to set up days when 'Dicemen' operations and maintenance personnel can learn about each other's portion of our intertwined mission," said Air Force Lt. Col. Nick Reed, 90th FS commander. "Many times, the lack of cross-talk and understanding, as well as misperceptions, can lead to unnecessary friction. Over the years, I've seen many versions of this idea and they all have merit."

Air Force Col. David Nahom, 3rd Wing commander, was the catalyst for the integration program.

"Colonel Nahom really wanted [operations] and maintenance to try and get to know each other's career field a little better, see how we interact with each other and, hopefully, develop a better working unit, a better fighting force," Sivertsen said.

Because of time and space limitations, the program is reserved for the most outstanding 90th AMU maintainers.

"Today, 10 of our best maintenance personnel, chosen by their supervisors, are receiving mission briefs, getting exposure to the step decision process, looking at aircrew flight equipment gear and getting a look at the [F-22] simulator," Reed said Nov. 15.

The step decision process occurs just before an aircraft is scheduled to take off. Pilots work with maintainers and weather personnel to determine which jet they are flying that day and if weather and mechanical conditions permit them to fly safely.

Sivertsen said although this was the first opportunity the 90th had to carry out an integration day, he hopes more can occur in the futur

No comments: