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The 317th MXG is LEAD'ing from the front!

  • Published
  • By (Courtesy article)
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 317th Maintenance Group recently held a ceremony to celebrate the graduation of their first Lethal Expeditionary Airman Development (LEAD)-Mechanical "Mech" class. This course, the first of its kind, has been in the works ever since the concepts of Agile Combat Employment and Multi-Capable Airmen were first introduced, and may serve as the benchmark for all of Air Mobility Command.

In order to "Win the Fight!" against a near-peer adversary, U.S. forces need to be lean and agile. That's where MCA and LEAD come in. LEAD supplements MCA doctrine but is not MCA. LEAD is a rigorous, locally developed course designed to create a more specialized, ready force that is better trained and equipped to support ACE objectives. LEAD provides added logistics capabilities in support of forward operations and does so with a significantly reduced footprint.

"LEAD is not doing more with less,” said Col. Jeffrey Darden, 317th MXG commander. “LEAD is breadth and depth of maintenance. It's a mindset of critical thinking rooted in an understanding of strategic and operational concepts employed tactically, it is about mission accomplishment and survivability." LEAD is how the 317th MXG plans to support combat operations in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments.

After weeks of teaching new technical skills and a curriculum traditionally taught at weapons school, the course culminated in a tabletop capstone exercise centered around ACE. The graduates had to leverage key concepts instructed throughout the course to develop a generation and sustainment plan at a Forward Operating Location and then defend their plan to Col. Darden and other senior maintenance leaders.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. CQ Brown Jr. stated, "to generate combat power from a number of locations to create dilemmas for an adversary...I just need a runway, a ramp, a weapons trailer, a fuel bladder, and a pallet of Meals, Ready-to-Eat. That's maybe a little bit bold, but the point is, we've got to be light, lean, and agile." The 317 MXG is well on its way to making this a reality.