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US, Philippine maintainers conduct SME exchange

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Natalie Doan
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Leaders from the 374th Maintenance Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan, visited Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Philippines, to conduct a subject matter expert exchange with their Philippine Air Force counterparts July 22–29.

During their visit, five 374th MXG leaders shared expertise on several topics, including aircraft corrosion prevention, C-130H Hercules engine and propeller maintenance, blade blending, and C-130H to C-130J Super Hercules transitions.

The exchange began with a comprehensive tour of the PAF facilities, where the 374th MXG team acquired a better understanding of base operations and became acquainted with their PAF counterparts.

The 374th MXG leaders and PAF personnel then exchanged tactics, techniques, and procedures through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training.

As the 374th MXG trained alongside their PAF counterparts, they observed different procedures, such as how the PAF has already integrated the multi-capable Airman concept into their regular operations. Currently, pilots and flight engineers perform letter check inspections on the hangar floor alongside maintainers.

“I appreciate how their pilots collaborate with maintainers, as opposed to our approach where pilots and maintainers are separate entities,” said Master Sgt. David Hamady, 374th Maintenance Squadron maintenance flight superintendent. “Their pilots actively engage with maintainers during inspections and maintenance tasks, in addition to their flying responsibilities. It’s a dual role they undertake.”

Beyond the technical aspects of aircraft maintenance, the 374th MXG also exchanged insights about effective oversight to promote mission accomplishment. Lt. Col. Martin Perez, 374th MXG deputy commander, held discussions with PAF personnel about using maintenance metrics to streamline processes and enhance efficiency, which leads to improved aircraft availability.

“While the Philippine Air Force had been tracking data on a locally developed spreadsheet to predict the frequency and types of equipment breakdowns, I shared our approach of analyzing daily, weekly, monthly, and annual metrics,” said Perez. “I elaborated on the significance of each metric and how they collectively contribute to unit improvement.”

The 374th MXG team and PAF personnel marked the completion of the exchange with a graduation ceremony where PAF members presented the 374th MXG leaders with gifts to showcase their gratitude.

Senior Master Sgt. Brandon Clark, 374th MXS maintenance superintendent, said while the primary focus for the 374th MXG leaders was to share knowledge and best practices during the exchange, their efforts were ultimately meant to reinforce the partnership between the two forces.

“The U.S.-Philippine alliance is a remarkable bond founded on shared values, mutual respect, and a longstanding commitment to security,” he said. “At the end of the day, this was the driving force behind our visit — to strengthen the alliance.”