Expanding Horizons: Beale’s First Ever MCA Tier-1 Course

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Juliana Londono
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Beale AFB paves the way for innovation by piloting its first Multi-Capable Airmen (MCA) course.

MCA training is available at other bases, however Beale strives to become the first to have an official course where students will leave as certified MCA.

Members from different Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSCs) across the installation signed up for the 9th Reconnaissance Wing’s first MCA Tier-1 certification course, which was held Oct. 16 - 27, 2023. Wing leadership directed the course's creation to support the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept. ACE requires the expedient movement of personnel and equipment to support the recovery, refueling, and launching of assets with a smaller footprint and is achieved with MCA.

With the Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model in mind, which includes four phases - reset, prepare, ready and available, Airmen categorized in the prepare or ready phase were given priority in attending as they are vulnerable to deploy. These phases improve Airmen readiness as their deployment vulnerability is more predictable, and becoming an MCA sanctions their ability to stay ready.

The class was comprised of 24 students ranging from maintenance to legal career fields. The primary prerequisite was completion of Ready Airman Training (RAT), covering combat arms and training maintenance (CATM), chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) training, and other training areas to be prepared for their available phase.

Instructors, considered subject matter experts in their respective fields, were chosen to teach concepts necessary to qualify students as an MCA. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Clayton Johnson, 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels mobile distribution supervisor, was one of the instructors during the course.

“I was here to teach 10k AT (All Terrain) forklift operations,” said Johnson. “This portion is important because when we go down range, if we have to drive a forklift and do not have a certified forklift operator, we can still move cargo that comes in and out of aircraft.”

In the two-week course, concepts such as Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), air base ground defense, general aircraft familiarization, safety protocols, and more were taught. The course culminated in an all-day field training exercise where Airmen applied these concepts.

The field training exercise involved a small shelter system setup, entry control point setup, tactical movements, and complex assault and recovery actions. Students were tasked with successfully passing every event presented to them both in the classroom and field training event to receive the MCA qualification.

The intent of the course is to take Airmen who are proficient in their primary AFSC and equip them with expeditionary skills and training which they can then employ in deployed environments or on home station if needed. All students who participated in this course will be tracked and certified once the course has been approved.

“Not only does this training help prepare our Airmen for successfully supporting the day-to-day mission downrange, but it also helps support the future of Agile Combat Employment operations at Forward Operating Sites and Contingency Locations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Mays, 9th Reconnaissance Wing A4 (Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection) director. “It is part of an Air Force initiative to move away from large-scale force packages and prepare units to operate as leaner, more agile forces within a permissive environment.”

The 9th RW plans to provide this course for Airmen once per quarter. Airmen who become certified in the course must also participate in at least one certifying event, such as a large-scale readiness exercise, every two years during their ready phase to retain their proficiency.

Beale has employed these concepts during exercises such as Dragon Flag EAST and DRAGON FANG, which tested the Wing’s ability to employ ACE and MCA capabilities. The new course allows Airmen to receive MCA training in a formal setting for the first time.

“Being a Multi-Capable Airmen is about generating airpower,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Breanna Oliver, 9th Reconnaissance Wing command chief. “We can all contribute to that no matter what our function is because at the end of the day, we need to get planes in the air because that is what we bring to the joint force.”

MCA provides a critical role in sustaining a more lethal force ready to face near-peer adversaries and efficiently execute the mission around the globe.