Lead-in training increases Afghan capabilities

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  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing
Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air maintainers are providing lead-in training at the Kabul Air Wing in an effort to ensure Afghan Air Force airmen excel at C-130 maintenance courses when they attend in the US.

Though some Afghans have begun training in the US, learning a new language and aircraft maintenance at the same time can be difficult. This lead-in training gives the Afghan maintainers a head start.

“We are trying to provide them aircraft familiarization, much like we do back home,” said Senior Master Sgt. Orlando Guevarez, TAAC-Air advisor and Puerto Rico Air National Guard member. “In the guard, an Airman can go to basic training, and then wait up to a full year to attend training. During that time, we try to provide basic aircraft instruction so they can work and stay motivated.”

Thus far, the student’s motivation has been high, with more Afghans than expected attending the first day of training. Additionally, during the first day, Afghan leadership spoke about the importance of the training. Afghan Air Force Col Shafi, Kabul Air Wing maintenance group commander told the C-130 maintenance students, “It’s important to Afghanistan we have this training here. If you can learn, we can take control of these planes and mission.”

Having the ability to maintain C-130s is another step toward the Afghans taking the lead in all aspects of operating the Afghan Air Force. In order to accomplish this, many Afghans will attend training in the United States and bring what they’ve learned back to Afghanistan. To make them more successful in the classes, the Afghan airmen currently split their days between English language training and now lead-in maintenance training.

“Their training here will give them a leg up on any follow-on training,” said Capt. Ronald Rios, 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, C-130 maintenance advisor. “Up until now, the Puerto Rico Air National Guard has been largely responsible for C-130 maintenance, but now we are switching into more of an advisory role.”