By Staff Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn
438th Air Expeditionary Wing
Since the re-establishment of the Afghan Air Force in 2007, the integration of dozens of new aircraft and more than a thousand Afghan aircraft maintainers, commanders within the Afghan Air Force and advisors from the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a special maintenance conference Sept. 24-26 at the Kabul, Afghanistan, International Airport.
The conference was put together to address service-wide maintenance operations and discuss major topics including training, organization of responsibilities and leadership of the Afghan Air Force maintenance groups. The groups are based in Shindand, Kabul, and Kandahar, Afghanistan, with several additional detachments.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Jose Martinez, a maintenance operations officer and coordinator of the maintenance conference, came up with the idea to have a conference back in Jan 2012, after identifying differences in the ways various maintenance units were operating.
Martinez thought it was important to have all the groups together so they could come up with ways to standardize key maintenance processes by sharing best practices and lessons learned.
“I wanted to bring in all the commanders, both Afghans and Americans alike, to sit down and discuss their processes and plan the way ahead for the Afghan Air Force maintenance department.”
During the conference the collective offered up their opinions, suggestions and thoughts about everything from the responsibilities of the maintenance organization to the use of aircraft forms.
“The main goal of the conference is getting all the maintenance groups in Afghanistan operating under one doctrine,” said Martinez.
“We want to standardize the processes so a technician can go from one base to another and know what to do. Everyone is bringing their ideas to the table and everything is coming together and becoming one unit verses three units.”
Several key leadership members attended the conference to include AAF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab (Wardak).
Gen. Wahab offered these comments to the leadership during the conference.
“The responsibility of the AAF is on our shoulders; we have to look after it and solve the problems. We have to be an example to the lower ranking soldiers, they look up to us,” he said. “We need to set the example.”
After the three day conference was over, the maintenance commanders went back to their bases with new ideas and goals. Martinez hopes that these maintenance conferences continue well into the future.
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