372nd TRS, Det 17: The obvious choice for F-16 maintenance training

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kenneth Shinn
  • 372nd Training Squadron

Unit: 372d Training Squadron, Detachment 17

Location: Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

Mission: To provide quality maintenance training that enhances our customer’s ability to execute their evolving commitments. 

Vision: To be the Obvious Choice for Efficient and Effective F-16 Aircraft Maintenance Training...Anytime, Anywhere..Well into the 21st Century.

Staff: 13 Active Duty USAF Instructors

Motto: Quiet professionals training expeditionary Airmen, providing precise skillsets that echo throughout their career!!!

What We Do:

Detachment 17 of the 372nd Training Squadron is assigned to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany home of the 52nd Fighter Wing and provides maintenance training on the F-16 “Fighting Falcon.”  Instilling the values to Lead, Train, and Inspire, Det 17 instructors embody their work to maintainers and future leaders that support a vital mission with global impact.  Serving as one of the squadron’s smaller units, Det 17 consists of 13 highly trained technical instructors across nine Air Force Specialty Codes that lay their foundation across USAFE.  These formal courses cover in-depth theory of operation and advanced troubleshooting of aircraft systems, egress systems, aerospace ground equipment, and faculty development curriculum.  Det 17 is home to the only Micro- and Micro-miniature (2M) program OCONUS, proven to be a critical key to the USAFE and AOR missions.  This attentive Navy curriculum serves as a pillar for future DoD capabilities certifying both Naval Sea System & Air Command tenants in the European and Middle Eastern regions for the foreseeable future.  Det 17 Detachment Chief, Master Sgt. Aaron Hensley said, “Det 17 provided the best subject matter experts in the European theatre to provide training for multi-country maintenance personnel, as well as, support the overall mission of our host unit. We take pride in serving the Airmen and serving the Air Force mission”.

As a team they produce roughly 88,000 hours of instruction annually fulfilling training requirements worldwide, both OCONUS and CONUS, solidifying 92 graduates annually.  Det 17 has a unique mission providing the only 2W0 Ammo training across USAFE, producing 12 Mobile Training TDYs annually impacting multiple AEF & Air Base Wing geographical commands.  Det 17 also provides the 726th Air Mobility Squadron on Spangdahlem AB with Advanced Wire maintenance, the first of its kind for the 52nd Fighter Wing allowing the Air Force to save $10,000 annually from this on-site training.  The mission always changes with innovation at the forefront in today’s Air Force and the detachment plays an essential role in the 52nd Maintenance Group Smart Ops/AFSO 21 developing cross utilization training.  Det 17 is responsible for piloting the 52 FW’s long overdue engine trainer upgrade.  Repairing the GE 129B engine from a crashed F-16 would have cost $1 million in repairs and 647,000 man-hours.  Instead, the engine was given to Det 17 to refurbish and utilize for more current and relevant training.  Overall, the det saved the Air Force $3.7M while simultaneously improving the quality of training for the wing.  Production Supervisor for Det 17, Master Sgt. James Bersaglia said, “Innovation and the conservation of resources are not only principles we teach, but also try to incorporate into all aspects of the way we do business.”

 Det 17’s instructors are heavily involved both on- and off-duty augmenting their influences and mentorship beyond the classroom.  Their commitment to excellence is flawless and efforts are embraced across Spangdahlem Air Base being involved in the local community and organizations such as Air Force Sergeant’s Association chapter, instructing Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses for the Wing Safety Office, and coaching for Spangdahlem’s school age programs.  Warrior ethos is embedded in the instructors’ principles.  They are dedicated to paying homage to those who have served before them by annually providing the restoration and upkeep of the fallen soldiers in World War II at Ardennes American Cemetery, Belgium.   The det instructors also work to organize and coordinate for major social and fundraising events such as Spangdahlem’s Annual Bazaar, where local and visiting merchants are brought on base for Airmen and their families to shop and explore a taste of European culture.