372nd TRS, Det 16: make great F-15 and HH-60 maintainers even better

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

Unit:                      Field Training Detachment 16, 372nd Training Squadron

Location:             Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England

Mission:              To make great F-15 and HH-60 maintainers even better.

Vision:                  Provide outstanding field training to the 48th Maintenance Group, enhancing combat capabilities for USAFE’s premier fighter wing

Staff:                     18 Active Duty U.S. Air Force Instructors

What we do:     

                As the only F-15 base in Europe, and the only F-15E base outside of the CONUS, the 48th Fighter Wing’s role is extremely versatile.

The wing’s F-15Cs provide air superiority and defense to our NATO allies across the European continent, while the F-15Es provide strategic attack, interdiction, and counter air missions from deployed locations and home station.  The wing’s HH-60 helos provide search and rescue capability in addition to tactical combat airlift.  The 48th Fighter Wing averages over 19,000 flying hours and over 10,000 sorties per year while maintaining an exceptional 80% Mission Capable rate, best in the CAF, making it an extremely fast paced maintenance environment.  The wing and the Field Training Detachment are preparing facilities, equipment, personnel, and training curriculum to be prepared for the eventual arrival of the F-35A Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter).

The instructors of Det 16, geographically separated from the 372d Training Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, make that all possible, teaching over 14,000 hours and graduating over 700 maintenance warriors in the past year alone.  Airplanes don’t fly on hopes and dreams; it is the blood, sweat, and tears of extraordinary “Liberty Wing” maintenance professionals that make the mission happen.  We in FTD, instill the knowledge and technical expertise for these airmen to go out and do the impossible every day.

Additionally, our outstanding instructors are called upon time and time again for Air Force-level concerns.  When a 48th Fighter Wing F-15D crashed in 2014, we were tasked to provide technical assistance during the crash investigation.

Two of our instructors were selected to evaluate and modernize the F-15C/D First Look Aircraft Systems Handbook, or FLASH, that affects the entire F-15C/D fleet.  The handbook provides system-specific knowledge to newly assigned Airmen who work on the weapons platform.

Detachment Chief, MSgt Joshua Bost said, “Our instructors also recently showcased the detachment’s canopy rigging training procedures to Maj. Gen. T. Glenn Davis, who was tasked by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to investigate several Hypoxia-related issues across F-15Cs worldwide.  We have an amazing team of technically proficient professions here who daily raise the competence and capability of the Liberty Wing maintainers.”

Ultimately, Det 16’s instructors have been a vital tool in sharpening the 48th Fighter Wing’s elite Liberty maintainers to produce airpower for 12 allied operations in 2016 alone, enabling the 48th Maintenance Group earn the prestigious 2016 Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award.