Afghan airmen graduate first rotary-wing 'train the trainer' maintenance program

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jamie Humphries
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Six Afghan air force maintainers are now qualified to provide on-the-job training after graduating from a course July 11 aimed at allowing them to take over independent operations from coalition members.

The graduating members, three engine-body technicians and three crew chiefs, spent the last nine weeks honing their skills with a goal of someday being able to provide training for other AAF rotary wing maintainers.

Upon completion of the course, the group is now qualified to instruct three different training levels outlined in their specific training records, including apprentice, journeyman and craftsman maintainer.

Coalition members oversaw the instruction; they continue to instruct six avionics and radio technicians in an effort to complete phase two of the designed training plan.

"The foundation is now laid for Afghans training Afghans and will provide an autonomous self-sustaining training capability," said Master Sgt. Walt Shaffer, of the 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron.

Now that phase one of the training is complete, the recent graduates move to phase two of the training plan, which calls for them to train nine pre-selected engine-body technicians. Experts explain the reason these particular AAF members were chosen is because of their experience levels.

"This is the first-ever 'train the trainer' course for rotary wing mechanics in Afghanistan," said Shaffer. "(The AAF trainees) were the most qualified and experienced to train as the first Afghan trainers."

Continuing on a path of transition, officials indicated the first level of training graduates will be responsible for training all mechanics in the future. The course, with newly written training records, will be adopted throughout Afghanistan for all helicopter mechanics.

With a sense of accomplishment and new knowledge, the Afghan trainers will now oversee trainees on the flightline with advisers overseeing instruction.

"We learned good things and different techniques such as radio, avionics, engine body and ground equipment, and we appreciate our instructor and mentor who trained us," explained Mohammad Rasool, an AAF technician. "As we attended the class, we found the class to be so important, interesting and effective for us."