Airmen pave the way for airpower

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Maintainers are often considered the unsung heroes of the Air Force because without them, aircraft don’t leave the ground. But in order for aircraft to soar, they need smooth runways so they can safely taxi.

To ensure the Airmen who specialize in heavy equipment and pavement have the necessary skills to correctly maintain airfields, the Air Force designed a two-week course. Every year, training managers at the major command level across the Air Force pick multiple bases across the Air Force to host the course, and this year Moody hosted one from June 5-16.

“This is a course for Airmen with their five or seven level, so a lot of this is stuff they’ve already learned,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Thurman, 364th Training Squadron heavy equipment and pavements instructor. “We’re making sure they know the right way to do it, that way they’re not making the same repair every year or two.”

“It’s not just going to impact the Airmen currently taking the course,” added Thurman, who’s been teaching the course for a year. “They’ll take what they’ve learned back to their base and pass that knowledge on to other Airmen the proper way to do things. I hope they retain that knowledge because these are the kinds of repairs they’ll be doing while deployed and that’s when it really counts.”

Airmen from various bases attend the course and, upon completion, earn credits towards their community college of the Air Force degree, but one Airman just came for the knowledge.

“I signed up to learn why we do things the way we do, or the fundamentals,” said Senior Airman Jesse Ellis, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy equipment and pavements journeyman. “For example why do we cut into the pavement at a certain depth for a certain kind of repair?”

“The mission at my base affects the president,” said Ellis. “Air Force One is there and a lot of processes are expedited. So if I can teach the other Airmen the right way to do it, that saves us time because everyone knows how to do it correctly and we don’t have to make the same repair twice.”

Repetitive repairs waste time, resources and money, but leadership at Moody hopes that hosting this class helps Airmen across the Air Force accomplish the mission.