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International service members learn with Cannon maintainers

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shelby Kay-Fantozzi
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Foreign allied service members came to Cannon Air Force Base for the base’s first international aircraft maintenance exchange in September. Active duty students from Austria and the Philippines traveled to the 373rd Training Squadron, Detachment 17, Cannon’s schoolhouse dedicated to keeping our C-130 maintainers current on their required training and certifications, for a ten-day class on legacy engine maintenance.

Cannon’s role in the international exchange is inherited from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, as Cannon is one of few remaining bases that still operate and maintain C-130s with four-blade turboprop engines—something our AC-130W Stinger II Gunships and foreign allies’ C-130 Hercules cargo planes have in common.

The class’s focus on borescope operation and blade repair aimed to help maintainers diagnose and repair internal problems.

“This class gives us a more intensive and hands-on look at engines,” said Austrian Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Scharnböck. “Here, we’re benefitting from the experience of our trainer and learning on the living thing.”

Tech. Sgt. Beau Columbus, an instructor with the 373 TRS, Detachment 17, stated that international maintainers’ wider range of responsibilities makes it more difficult for maintainers to see practical experience in every facet of their duties.

“While maintainers [in the U.S. Air Force] have different career fields for engines, hydraulics, structural and so on, folks from other countries’ services have to know a little bit of everything, and fall under a wider umbrella of ‘maintainer,” Columbus said.

Students stated that they were prepared to share what they had learned with their cohorts at their home stations, but that it would not be long before more students would apply for the opportunity to receive their own training.

“The success of this first group laid the groundwork for many more students to come,” said Columbus.