128th Aviation Brigade Update:
The 151A Aviation Maintenance Technician is a technical warrant officer specializing in the management of personnel, supply, equipment, and facility assets to maintain and repair Army rotary, fixed wing, and unmanned aircraft systems.
They operate at the maintenance company, divisional G4, and theater support commands; providing commanders counsel to aid decisions pertaining to aviation sustainment. An initiative by MG Lynn Collyar, former commanding general of U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), to “re-green” aviation maintenance, refers to the gradual transition of aviation maintenance from contract maintenance teams to army maintainers. This initiative fell in line with the 128th Aviation Brigade’s priority of better preparing the 151A military occupational specialty (MOS).
Over the past two years, the 128th Avn. Bde. has been fully engaged redesigning the 151A Aviation Maintenance Technician Warrant Officer Basic and Advance course curriculum to provide adaptive leaders with the skills and knowledge required to support readiness in an ever changing environment as the defense budget is reduced. This represents a shift from maintenance practices developed to sustain the launch-recover-launch cycle of operations during deployment. Combat aviation brigade (CAB) commanders understand they must efficiently manage their flying hour program, utilizing cost-wise maintenance, to get the most out of each training dollar.
The 151A aviation maintenance technician is a significant asset in achieving this goal. The primary method of controlling costs is to repair, when economically feasible, instead of replacing, high-dollar components. Over the last 13 years, operational availability of aircraft took precedence over the cost of repair during deployments. We became accustomed to replacing components to make our aircraft mission capable, rather than performing quality troubleshooting to accurately isolate faulty components.
151As play a crucial role in maintenance units by assisting commanders in identifying technical skill deficiencies and ensuring that training is embedded in the unit’s normal maintenance cycle. Managing aviation logistics for a battalion is a critical task for the 151A. Efficiently managed technical supply sections will right-size the inventory, through demand analysis, and minimize losses to standard pricing rules.
Integrating with logistical assistance representatives (LAR) for AMCOM, Communication-Electronics, and Tank
automotive and Armaments commands (CECOM) (TACOM) provide vital assistance to expedite requested parts and depot level repair requests. Interfacing with aircraft and manufacturer field service representatives (FSR) provide technical advice and onsite depot level repairs, to further reduce maintenance cost.
The recently redesigned 151A Warrant Officer Basic Course includes mandated common core leader training, aircraft maintenance management, component repair operations, armament training for the AH-64, forward arming and fueling point (FARP) operations, and unmanned aerial systems.
151A graduates from this course will have a functional knowledge of airframe specific maintenance, phase flow management, budgeting, and logistics which include a basic knowledge of the integrated logistical analysis program (ILAP).
The officer will be able to function effectively in their first unit of assignment whether in the aviation maintenance company or at the aviation support company in any of the following capacities; armament and component repair sections, production control, and the technical supply section as an additional duty.
The Aviation Maintenance Technician Warrant Officer Advanced Course (WOAC) will develop 21st century soldier competencies, leader development processes and mentorship skills through collaboration, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and oral and written communication. It further hones the officer’s aviation technical and managerial skills to provide the commander with concise analysis to complex problems affecting operation readiness and sustainment on all Army aircraft and associated equipment. It also provides the officer with a knowledge base that enables him or her to perform at the aviation maintenance company and the aviation support battalion level, and performsadvance logistics functions as the brigade maintenance officer and division G4 materiel officer. The course also prepares the officer to serve as a contract officer representative (COR) for civilian contractors and as coordinator for internal and external support for aviation maintenance operations.
The revision of the 151A Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced courses eliminates redundancies, gains efficiencies, and produces a more capable technician. Officers will be prepared to
return to troubleshooting basics, enforce standardization and quality throughout all aviation maintenance programs. Additionally, it supports Army re-greening and the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI). Graduates from both courses will be uniquely poised with the tactical and technical competencies to assist commanders in managing their aviation assets to support unified land operations in a complex environment.
CW3 Thomas Parker is a Warrant Officer Training Instructor with Company A, 1st Battalion, 210 Aviation Regiment, 128th Aviation Brigade, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA.