Airmen with the 821st Expeditionary Training Squadron, a component of the Coalition Air Force Training Team, have begun training members of the fledgling Iraqi Air Force in rudimentary aircraft maintenance at the Iraqi Air Force Training School on the grounds of Taji Air Base. Already an entry-level basic aircraft maintenance course has been designed to cover topics like general aviation, flightline safety, and fundamental aircraft/helicopter system knowledge. The airmen are also teaching, for the first time, an aircraft structural maintenance course, an offshoot of the BAM, to a class of two Iraqi airmen. “This is a work in progress,” said MSgt. Joel Little, the lead instructor, of the structures training. He continued, “The most important thing is determining what our Iraqi counterparts need from us so we can tailor the course to their needs.” In Air Force technical training schools, aircraft structures training lasts about four months. In contrast, the IqAF course has been scaled down to 26 academic days, based on feedback from senior IqAF officials. Eventually Little, a native of Charlotte, N.C., and his staff will be able to train a cadre of Iraqi instructors to take over teaching the course. (Includes Taji report by SMSgt. Trish Freeland) (For more on the activities of the CAFTT to build up the IqAF, read Building a Credible Air Force, a report from the Daily Report’s Marc Schanz who visited Iraq in November.)
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.