Aircraft Maintenance Officer 21A

Welcome back to today’s episode of Commission ed. Super excited to have you all here today as we discuss the aircraft maintenance officer career field, the AFS Alpha.

This is, again, one of those career fields that it makes sense that we need to have, but not a lot of people know what goes into it. Today we’re going to cover a little bit of background, a little bit of the daily duties and some of the training that goes into this very important career field, because without airplanes and without those airplanes functioning well, nothing’s going to be happening.

Right. We have to remember, this is the Air force. The family business is the proper employment of air power, and aircraft are the thing that get that done. And so we need officers who are responsible for the maintainers, the enlisted career field, the enlisted maintainers who take care of the aircraft themselves. And so this is one of those very traditional, leadership type career fields that you can get into as an officer, where you will, very early on and throughout your entire career in the air force, be responsible for huge amounts, a huge population of enlisted airmen.

Exactly. From the get go, you’re going to be responsible for multi million dollar weapon systems and hundreds of airmen who are responsible for maintaining them. And not only that, you’re going to be doing it in high pressure situations. As I stated, nothing’s going to fly unless the maintenance crews and the maintenance officer says it’s safe to fly. And you better believe there’s pressure to make sure those weapons are available when the general wants them.

Yeah. Well, let’s be honest here about who actually owns the aircraft. The aircraft itself belongs to the maintainers, and they loan it out to the operators, the pilots, the sizzos, those who need to use it to apply air power on behalf of the United States. But the aircraft still belongs to the maintainers.

Absolutely. And that’s an essential part of being an officer that is in charge of these maintenance career fields. And one thing we certainly learned when we gave an interview with a maintenance officer on our podcast. We’ve got a link in the description where you can find that. I learned a lot during that interview, and that was one of the key things that I didn’t understand, is they actually own these weapons.

That’s right. Not that the officer is actually going to be the one who is turning the wrenches out there on the tarmac, fixing the aircraft, but they are the ones who say, yes, this aircraft is safe, capable and ready to be flown on behalf of the air force.

So after you’re commissioning and you are selected to become a maintenance officer, you’re going to go through maintenance officer training, which happens at Shepard Air Force Base. And after that, you’re going to kind of have a similar thing to drop Knight. You’re going to be selected to maintain a specific weapon system. After you get selected for that weapon system, you’re going to go to kind of a spin up training to get qualified on exactly the details of that weapon system. A helo is very different from a fighter, is very different from a cargo aircraft. Yes, similar principles apply, but there is some specific knowledge, skills and abilities that you need to have in order to be an effective leader over those units.

Absolutely. And the expectation will be that over the course of your career, you’re going to return to shepherd for continuous education, helping you to sharpen those skills, gain new skills as you continue to grow as an officer, ever larger aircraft maintenance units, or amus, and eventually rise to the level of command at the squadron level. And even above that, there are group commanders. Maintenance officers can also serve at the wing, can serve as wing commanders or even become general officers.

Exactly. And as part of your development, you’re going to deploy anywhere there are aircraft flying. There is a maintenance crew making sure that aircraft is safe. And wherever there’s a maintenance crew, there’s going to be a maintenance officer making sure that everything is going the way it should.

For sure. Now, this is a very large career field, similar to many of the others that we’ve covered. There’s no possible way that we could answer every question relative to being an aircraft maintenance officer. And so we invite you to send us your questions. If we can’t answer them, we will absolutely put you in touch with someone who can. You can reach out to us through the heritage [email protected]. Our email address, [email protected]. Or even some of our social media platforms.

Yep, we’d love to hear from you, and thanks so much for joining us today as we discuss the maintenance officer career field. Thanks for tuning in this week to commission it.

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