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Airfield systems Airmen prepare for AFSC merge

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brendan Milligan, 20th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) ground radar systems technician, center, checks radar parameter values at a monitor and a Digital Airport Surveillance Radar control screen as Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician, right, and Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems noncommissioned officer in charge, observe at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017.

Senior Airman Brendan Milligan, 20th Operations Support Squadron ground radar systems technician, checks radar parameter values at a monitor and a Digital Airport Surveillance Radar control screen as Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician, and Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems noncommissioned officer in charge, observe at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017. Milligan ensured the parameters were within the established standards and tolerances while describing the process to non-ground radar systems Airmen visiting the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFNS) -- Airmen assigned to the 20th Operations Support Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base are getting ahead of the curve by preparing for an Air Force specialty code merger scheduled for November 2017.

Currently separated into two shops, ground radar systems and airfield systems Airmen have begun working together to meet training milestones and increase their understanding of the work their coworkers do.

The Airmen will also be aligned with their industry counterparts who perform all ground radar and airfield systems tasks under one career field.

“We’re still learning how the merger will impact us,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Marple, 20th OSS airfield systems noncommissioned officer in charge. “But, we know what worked and what didn’t work in the last two mergers, so we’re using those tools to get ahead of it.”

Once the merger is complete, all technicians will be expected to have a working knowledge of how to maintain the equipment each section was previously responsible for. This includes all ground-to-air communications, navigations and weather systems, as well as the radars air traffic controllers use to guide aircraft.

Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems NCO in charge, said the Airmen developed a training strategy by learning from past experiences such as the merge of the ground radio and meteorological navigation career fields. The plan outlined milestones and deadlines each team member should reach, as well as solutions for potential issues.

If a technician from either shop is called out to perform a task, their counterpart will accompany for on-the-job training, said Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician. This process of teaching others also helps Sides learn more and become more proficient in her job.

However, airfield systems Airmen may not have the chance to obtain hands-on training with the equipment due to the limited time radars are down for maintenance, therefore, formal training is available at Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

As they achieve their training, the 20th OSS Airmen also improve their teamwork skills.

“Each shop was used to doing things their own way, but working to help train each other has led to more togetherness,” said Shetty. “It may be a challenge to consolidate, but we welcome the challenge of this merger.”