by Tech. Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs
5/12/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Jolly
Tangog found his niche in a job he didn't even know the description of
when he applied for it - but it fit his skill set perfectly and allowed
him to build something new.
Just a few months into his work as equipment specialist with Air Force
engineering and technical services for the 732nd Aircraft Maintenance
Squadron on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Tangog, a retired
Air Force Master Sgt., noticed his leadership was looking for ways to
save money on training. At the same time, he had an idea - he wanted to
build a C-5M Super Galaxy maintenance trainer to train Airmen at JBER
instead of sending them to the Lower 48.
The aircraft doesn't stop by JBER often, but per Air Force Instruction
21-101 "Aircraft and Equipment Maintenance Management," the Airmen still
need to be proficient at it when they do.
"We needed something to train our folks, but at the same time, we
couldn't break the bank," he said. "We were just talking one day and I
brought this idea up. We normally sent people [to the Lower 48] to train
in a simulator where the flight instruments are panels hanging on
walls. That's it; they teach that way."
Tangog noted that they couldn't bring the maintenance up to Alaska, and
it was costing too much to send people to it. So he decided to build a
The stars appeared to line up again, the equipment specialist said, and
his leadership saw his idea as exactly the type they had been looking
"This trainer allows us to keep our competencies up without sending
people to training so they can better serve the mission," Atkinson said.
"It's a home run all the way for a $600 investment. A trip for the
training costs about $1,500 a person a class. Take that times however
many people and you're saving thousands of dollars, and keeping the
Airmen home with their families and working on the line instead of being
"I went one step further than the normal training does - I put it in the
correct position by building the maintenance trainer," Tangog said,
describing the desk-sized wooden cockpit with printed panels and
instruments. "Jason Bradford, a 732nd AMS conveyor maintainer who welds
and does wood work, helped me out a lot; he runs a wood shop. I drew out
the diagrams and measurements. He had all the tools and we bought the
materials through the proper channels. It took us about a month from the
conception to building it. It was a team effort."
"I love it," said Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Atkinson, 732nd AMS
commander. "I thought Mr. Tangog had great initiative; the fact that he
could start it by himself was awesome, and save us a lot of money and,
more importantly, Airmen's time."
Because it's in its infancy, the simulator isn't intended to replace real training yet.
"It's not enough to become proficient," he explained. "But it will get
Airmen in the ball park; they'll be able to identify switches on panels
and where they are located. They'll be able to follow a checklist, every
graphic simulating a switch or dial is located exactly where it would
be on the aircraft. I tried to make it as accurate as possible by using
technical manuals and information from other sources."
Use of the trainer will be available by the end of the the year, Tangog said.