29th AMU Airmen become multi-capable

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Paczkowski
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
The Multi-capable Airman concept is employed by the U.S. Air Force to help grow and develop Airmen throughout all the Air Force Specialty Codes. 
The benefits of the MCA training were perfect for U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alejandro Thompson, an MQ-9 Reaper dedicated crew chief for the 29th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. 
In 2020, Thompson was able to enroll in MCA training through the guidance of one of his supervisors at the time. During the training, Thompson would learn as much as he can about the avionics mechanics of MQ-9s. 
“The sole reason I did it was to become as knowledgeable as possible,” said Thompson. “When I leave the Air Force I want to be able to continue what I’m doing and this course has helped me to continue that goal.” 

One year after he started the course, Thompson was able to bring the skills and knowledge that he learned back to the 29th AMU. He is now able to train others on different tasks from the avionics as well as the crew chief side of things. 
Although he was able to complete the training and gather the skills to teach other people how to do the things he learned, it wasn’t without its challenges.
“It was difficult for me at the beginning because I had already gained four or five years of experience working on the MQ-9,” said Thompson. “After I got accustomed to the training and completing my MCA training it was easier for me to work because I could go from one office to another and if an office had minimal work, I could go help in another.”
He also said that he absolutely recommends that other Airmen participate in MCA training as there's only so much you can do learning the same thing over and over again. 
Thompson isn’t the only MCA-qualified maintainer in the 29th AMU or the 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, he is joined by many other highly-skilled Airmen in a multitude of shops.
One of the people currently going through the training is U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Erandy Rodriguez, an avionics technician for the MQ-9 at the 29th AMU. 
“I’m trying to find the balance, because I have so much experience in the shop I want to dedicate my time to share that experience I gain,” said Rodriguez. “We have so many people that are new to the shop and I want to be able to train them, but I need to balance time for myself.”
The Airmen that are able to undergo the training, whether they have completed it or are currently training, are able to bring the skills and knowledge back to their squadrons and train other Airmen to become multi-capable.