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314th AMXS employs initial operational capability through support section

An Airman looks inside a yellow storage container.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Randy Mcdonald, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support technician, completes inventory on hazardous material management tools and equipment at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 22, 2020. The support section is the foundation that will give the squadron momentum during the transition from contractors to full-time active-duty maintainers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

A hand touches a shiny metal tool.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Randy Mcdonald, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support technician, inspects a toolbox at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 22, 2020. The support section – currently comprised of 16 Airmen – plays an essential role in the squadron by providing Airmen with the tools needed to carry out the 314th Airlift Wing’s mission of training approximately 1,200 aircrew students per year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

Two Airmen look at a computer screen.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Ethan Flournoy and James Wood, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support technicians, scan a tool at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 22, 2020. The 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron stood up its active-duty support section recently, which was considered a major milestone in its reconstitution plan, transitioning the squadron from civilian contractors to military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

An Airman inspects a small tool.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. James Wood, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support technician, inspects tools for damage at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 22, 2020. Airmen in the support section are responsible for maintaining essential materials, such as tools and protective equipment, needed for the squadron to carry out its duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jayden Ford)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

The 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron stood up its active-duty support section recently at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. This was considered a major milestone in its reconstitution plan, to continue transitioning the squadron from civilian contractors to military personnel.

The support section – comprised of 16 Airmen – plays an essential role in the squadron by providing Airmen with the tools needed to carry out the 314th Airlift Wing’s mission of training approximately 1,200 aircrew students a year.

“The Airmen have put a lot of effort into building our team and capabilities from scratch,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Haley Janssen, 314th AMXS unit officer in charge. “They are the first piece that has to be in place, and they house a lot of programs we are obligated to have in order for an aircraft maintenance unit to function.”

From tools to flight line driver’s licenses – the support section is seen as the foundation that will give the squadron momentum during the transition from contractors to full-time active-duty maintainers.

“They've put in countless hours doing inventories and getting those programs up and running so we can welcome in the rest of the squadron,” Janssen said.

A vast majority of maintainers in the squadron are made up of Airmen who came from bases throughout the Air Force and specialize in a range of career fields working on multiple types of aircraft.

“Not everybody was a C-130J maintainer,” Janssen said. “Everybody brings in their own backgrounds and has to try to learn, leaving some of their previous biases at the door, because we eventually work on the C-130J’s together to make the mission happen,” Janssen said.

Another area the section had to solidify was in the structure of their leadership – making sure the leaders were ready to supervise their Airmen and guide them through not only day-to-day tasks, but also the tasks that come with developing an entire squadron from scratch.

“A lot of our maintenance teams, section chiefs, and NCOs in charge are in these positions for the first time,” Janssen said. “We have been diligent in getting everybody feeling strong in their ability to lead their sections.”

Units from across all of Team Little Rock have assisted in the reconstitution of the squadron.

“The base agencies helped a lot with the training that we needed,” said Senior Master Sgt. Adam Bragg, 314th AMXS support superintendent. “We’ve been filling in the gaps with on-the-job training to get our Airmen where they need to be.”

As the squadron continues to grow – expecting to be 260 Airmen strong upon completion of the reconstitution – the support section sets the tone for what is to come in the whole process.

“We can make the transition easier by having people who've got the experience,” Bragg said. “A positive attitude is key to building a unit. We have assembled an amazing team with a variety of skill sets, and I am thankful for them.”

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