News: Navy course teaches airmen to save AF millions
Story by Senior Airman Natasha Stannard
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany - Spangdahlem Air Base is one of two bases in the Air Force that teaches the U.S. Navy's Miniature and Microminiature Repair Program.
The 2M program was initiated here in 1998 to save the Air Force money by training technicians to do in-house repairs on circuit components that would otherwise be sent back to the manufacturer or to heavy maintenance for repair or thrown away. Last year, the program saved U.S. Air Forces in Europe $4.8 million.
"The program allows individual units here to repair some of their own parts that come off the flightline or from any shop," said Master Sgt. Daniel Egbert, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 17 2M instructor.
Egbert is one of four instructors in the Air Force and the only instructor in USAFE who teaches and certifies airmen in the seven-week long 2M program. The program teaches technicians circuit repairs ranging from basic component replacement to multilayer repair.
There are two portions of the course. The miniature portion involves fixing single-and double-sided printed circuit boards including removal and installation of most integrated circuit devices. Mircominiature component repair consists of fixing densely packaged multilayered circuit boards.
Students learn to fix parts of both miniature and microminiature and at the end of the course are graded to U.S. Navy standards. Students must earn at least a grade of 75 on 99 projects up to the troubleshooting portion of the course at which point they must earn at least an 85.
"It's really thorough and meticulous," said Staff Sgt. Will Robinson, 372nd TRS A-10 Thunderbolt II avionics instructor and 2M student, of the course. "When you have a tiny knick in a board the width of a hair, it can fail your board if you don't catch it."
The high standards set in the classroom are beneficial to the students and the Air Force as they ensure technicians produce high-quality work.
"When they go back to their shops there is no quality assurance to look over their shoulder and say you did this wrong, you need to fix it," Egbert said. "They're their own QA. Integrity is a big part of this course, which is why it's so critically inspected and demanding."
Upon certification, technicians can repair multiple systems to include computer components, aircraft lighting panels and more.
"Shops can take their printers, copiers, scanners, or anything else with a circuit board to Air Force Repair Program here and have certified technicians repair them," Egbert said. "Technicians can pull off parts that would otherwise be thrown away; repair them and put them back in the supply system, which saves the Air Force a lot of money."
The course is also a time saver, especially for units that have mission critical components in need of repair, said Egbert.
"We can repair things right here and get them back to the unit," he explained.
Egbert's students also value how critical this program is to the mission.
"Some of the parts we fix at AFRP are mission critical component repairs that come from other shops and are from manufacturers that don't fix the part anymore," said Staff Sgt. Brian Gibson, 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron avionics technician and 2M student. "Our opinion is we have the ability, so if you have the time to bring the part, we can fix it. This saves money and gives back to the base."