Dude, CIRF's Up at Bradley

  • Published
  • By Maj. George Worrall III
  • 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the Connecticut Air National Guard's 103rd Maintenance Squadron began
training as jet engine mechanics May 5, 2008 at Bradley Air National Guard Base. 

"Our future is here and now and these students are ensuring our mission and unit maintains an integral part of the nation and state missions," said Maj. Wayne B. Ferris, commander, 103rd Maintenance Squadron. 

Normally to attend training, airmen would spend 10 weeks on temporary duty at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas; however, special arrangements were made with Sheppard's 361st Aerospace Propulsion School to bring instructors to the students and conduct the jet engine training here on base.

"We are excited and proud that Sheppard Air Force Base is part of our team and we are very appreciative that the active duty school house is transplanted in Connecticut for these three classes," said Ferris. 

Part of a building formally used for A-10 support is now converted into a temporary schoolhouse. 

"The learning environment that Bradley Air National Guard Base has provided is first class," said Technical Sgt. Larry T. Beach, instructor, 361st Aerospace Propulsion School who is teaching Bradley's first class. "I have everything I need here, so the transition from Sheppard Air Force Base to Bradley has been seamless." 

This is not the first time TF-34 training classes were held at Bradley. 

"In 1979, we had a field training detachment from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base come here and teach TF-34 intermediate maintenance when we got the A-10s," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher L. Johnstone, ground safety manager, 103rd Airlift Wing. "It was convenient then because our entire time was dedicated to training." 

The CTANG students attending class are on active duty and operational control of the students belongs to Sheppard Air Force Base staff; however, students have the benefit of not spending the time away from home. 

"Without the opportunity to take this class on base, and having two small children at home, it would have been nearly impossible to go to school at all," said Staff Sgt Amy A. Robinson, jet engine mechanic, 103rd Maintenance Squadron. "I am really appreciative and looking forward to getting back to my shop [the Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility] to start applying the knowledge I've learned." 

Three of the 10-week classes are scheduled from May 2008 through November of 2008 and will train a total of 23 students. 

The new jet engine mechanics will work in the Bradley ANG Base Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF). 

"It is our mission to be a first class jet engine repair facility capable of supporting and sustaining the USAF A-10 fleet by providing quality TF34-100A Engines and GTCP36-50 Auxiliary Power Units whenever and wherever they are needed," said Ferris. "The in-residence schoolhouse provides the wing with first class jet engine mechanics which will implement and employ our unique ANG mission." 

When complete, the CIRF is expected to produce more than 50 engines a year to support all the Air National Guard A-10 units and some active duty units. 

Existing engine mechanics, augmented by a contracted field team, began low-rate operation of the CIRF in the Fall of 2007 shipping its first TF-34 engine Nov 3, 2007.