KC-46 Crew Chiefs, the Engineers of Tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marc A. Garcia
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Four Airmen made the transition from student to apprentice after becoming the first graduating class of the KC-46 Mission Ready Airmen program Nov. 5, 2019, at McConnell’s Detachment 8.


Class 190021 leaves their mark in Air Force history as the first class of KC-46 Pegasus crew chiefs.


“It is an honor to be the first KC-46 maintainers,” said Airman 1st Class Cuong Nguyen, 931st Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “I look forward to providing my knowledge to other Airmen.”


MRA graduates will enhance the connection between Airmen and the future of air refueling.


“It’s going to be a sharing experience, said Maj. Jason Powell, 22nd Maintenance Squadron commander.


The sharing experience is crucial to McConnell’s mission of aerial refueling because the current maintenance conducted on the KC-46 is performed by crew chiefs who were integrated. Crew chiefs that integrated from KC-135 maintenance will also share their experience with the incoming Airmen to allow them to know what to expect in regards to the KC-46 maintenance.


The MRA program took a total of 56 academic days to complete. The Total Force crew chiefs attended the program after completing the 24 academic day Heavy Aircraft Fundamentals Course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The MRA program allows its Airmen to deepen their understanding of the KC-46 before reaching their respective units.


“The course allowed the Airmen to get further in-depth knowledge on the KC-46 by providing the opportunity to conduct hands-on training,” said Tech. Sgt. John Kopas, 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 8 instructor.


The fiscal year of 2020 is projected to have 77 Total Force students across the Air Force become qualified crew chiefs on the KC-46. As the next generation of crew chiefs come through, they will continue to assist in the integration of the new mobility platform.


The Airmen coming from the MRA program will begin a new generation of crew chiefs. They will continue the excellence, service and integrity of crew chiefs before them and apply it to the maintenance of the KC-46.