RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
Growth in the U.S. Air Force can sometimes be attributed to diversifying your skillset and branching out into other career fields. That was the intention behind Air Force leadership’s creating the Multi-Capable Airman training program.
The program gives Airmen the opportunity to gain new experience in a different career field with the Air Force. The goal is to enable Airmen to be able to fill multiple roles when needs arise.
“MCA is a great training program and a huge force multiplier,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Spence Koepp, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “If a large amount of maintenance professionals are deployed or off somewhere else doing their jobs we can call on these Airmen to fill those positions on base.”
The MCA program is a way to empower Airmen already in the Air Force to get the mission done.
“People are the greatest resource we have available to us,” Koepp said. “One of the biggest points of this program is to maximize the potential of the people we already have. I think this is an extremely valuable course and I am glad we are taking advantage of it.”
Personnel participating in the MCA training learn valuable skills outside of their normal career fields. Some believe the training is a great way to get out and see how the rest of the Air Force works.
“I think this training is a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Raul Espinosa, 86th Logistics readiness Squadron fuels systems technician. “I like the fact the Air Force is giving me the chance to broaden my horizons. I have also made some new friends and had shared experiences with some cool people.”
The MCA program helps bridge the gap for career fields like maintenance that always has Airmen on the move. Airmen who complete MCA are able to fill in as needed to ensure the mission always gets done.
“We have a huge mission here at Ramstein and if all of our people are elsewhere, we need competent Airmen here working to continue the mission,” Koepp said. “We can’t be everywhere at once and home or abroad we have to ensure we are generating Airpower. The Airmen we are training here are going to be our ace in the hole when the time comes.”
Espinosa said he is not one to let opportunities slip by him. Instead he wants to take everything the Air Force offers him and help his team and the base in as many ways as he can.
“I would recommend this course to anyone who wants more out of their career,” Espinosa said. “It has given me a whole new perspective and helped me feel like I am a more valuable asset to my team. I know if something happens, I will not be on the sidelines, but instead on the front lines helping out where I am needed most.”
The future of Ramstein and its operations are heavily dependent on quality Airmen and their ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Koepp said this program is crucial to the 86 MXG’s future and ensuring it can execute the mission wherever it happens.
“If we want to stay on top, we have to be able to adjust to the climate we are in,” Koepp said. “We have some serious competition out there and they are not taking breaks or rest on their laurels. We are the best Air Force in the world for a reason and we are ensuring we will stay that way for the foreseeable future. We are the top dogs and MCA and the Airmen who participate in it will keep it that way.”
As of right now the MCA training program is still in the process of starting up. Further instructions will be released on how to become enrolled in the course.
“We are in our Beta phase for the MCA program,” said TSgt Redus Reed, 86 MXG Training Flight director of instruction. “As of right now for Airmen were marked as fully qualified in their career fields. They showed the aptitude and ambition to become aircraft maintainers.”