January 17, 2008 (by A1C David Carbajal) - Most would agree that training is the key to success. For the first time in the 477th Fighter Group's history at Elmendorf, Reservists are training members of the Air National Guard as part of Total Force Integration.
Airmen from the Alaska ANG's 176th Wing at Kulis ANGB, receive training from 477th AMXS crew chiefs at Elmendorf AFB.
Members of the 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron trained 13 members of the 176th Kulis Air National Guard on take-off and recover procedures for the F-22A Raptor Jan. 13, 2008.
The training was to prepare for the possibility of a Raptor being unable to land on Elmendorf. This ensured the airframe would be capable to land on an alternate runway safely.
"During extreme winter conditions, Elmendorf's airfield can become too hazardous to land on for short periods of time," said Lt. Col. Gator Platt, the 477th AMXS commander. "In these times, Elmendorf's aircraft could be airborne, requiring divert fields, like Kulis, in which to recover."
With the varying experience levels of the Kulis Airmen, the crew chiefs went through detailed, step-by-step instruction to ensure safety of the maintainers and pilot.
"We're teaching them the exact procedures used after a Raptor lands on our runway," said Staff Sgt. Wesley Correro, a 477th AMXS crew chief. "After these UTAs (unit training assemblies), they will have ample training needed to recover the aircraft."
Some of the Guard Airmen have been trained on recovery of heavy airframes such as the C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III.
"Some of our guys have prior-service experience and had the opportunity to handle some of the aircraft but the Raptor is one that we haven't had first-hand experience with," said Senior Master Sgt. Kerry James, the lead Guardsman who attended the UTA. Beginning the UTA early Sunday morning, the crews didn't complete the training until late afternoon.
"The Airmen of the 477th AMXS are some of the best around," said Colonel Platt. "I am confident that these opportunities will provide the Guard the training to help fulfill our mission at Elmendorf."
The 477th AMXS is scheduled to hold another UTA in March.