By Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — Airmen from non-maintenance career fields practiced Agile Combat Employment concepts while helping generate sorties last week at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.
During a limited manning training exercise, Airmen like Capt. Cameron Emerson, 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle pilot, assisted crew chiefs in launching and recovering 493rd FS aircraft. This is a duty typically performed by Airmen in the maintenance group.
“This limitation has actually created a great opportunity for operations and maintenance to integrate by opening the positions to assist the crew chiefs on the flightline,” said Emerson.
The 48th Fighter Wing is dedicated to developing multi-capable Airmen to drive the mission more effectively. This is accomplished through Agile Combat Employment concepts.
According to Lt. Col. Mark Perry, 493rd Fighter Squadron Commander, every Airman benefits from possessing the ability to perform multiple duties outside of the scope of their daily routine.
“A pilot could very well find themselves landing in an austere location with minimum support in a combat situation,” said Perry. “It’s important for us to ensure our Airmen and aircrew are familiar with a variety of the different skill sets required for mission readiness.”
Experiences like this give personnel a different perspective and instill a deeper appreciation of the teamwork required to keep the Liberty Wing mission running smoothly every day.
Emerson said as a pilot, it’s easy to get caught up in his own pre-flight checklist in the cockpit, but being able to work with the crew chiefs on the ground has reminded him that maintenance personnel carry a huge portion of the weight of the mission on their shoulders.
“I’m extremely impressed with how expeditiously and professionally they work through any issue and the demanding nature of the job,” said Emerson. “This experience has given me an even greater appreciation for what maintenance does for the mission every single day.”