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Total force program aims to streamline KC-135 upkeep

Lt. Col. Duane Richardson, the 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Thomas, the 22nd AMXS superintendent, reveal the dedicated crew chief box on a KC-135 Stratotanker May 2, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The 22nd AMXS and the 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron held a DCC induction ceremony where 58 DCCs and assistant DCCs were assigned to 25 KC-135 Stratotankers. (Courtesy photo)

Lt. Col. Duane Richardson, the 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Thomas, the 22nd AMXS superintendent, reveal the dedicated crew chief box on a KC-135 Stratotanker May 2, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The 22nd AMXS and the 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron held a DCC induction ceremony where 58 DCCs and assistant DCCs were assigned to 25 KC-135 Stratotankers. (Courtesy photo)

A dedicated crew chief box on a KC-135 Stratotanker May 16, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The DCC boxes are part of the 22nd and 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons’ DCC program and feature the names of the DCC and assistant DCCs assigned to the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

A dedicated crew chief box on a KC-135 Stratotanker May 16, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The DCC boxes are part of the 22nd and 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons’ DCC program and feature the names of the DCC and assistant DCCs assigned to the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) --

Active-duty and Reserve maintainers here have teamed up as part of a new total force integration program to improve maintenance on KC-135 Stratotankers.

The 22nd and 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons have joined the Dedicated Crew Chief program, which matches a team of Airmen to aircraft so they become the responsible oversight for any maintenance issues that arise with that specific jet.

"The DCC program is intended to instill pride in ownership and increase the quality and availability of our aircraft," said Lt. Col. Duane Richardson, the 22nd AMXS commander. "The program focuses a lot on the little things. The DCC is charged to take care of those little maintenance issues before they become one big issue that takes the jet down for a while."

Almost 60 DCCs and assistant DCCs have been assigned to 25 KC-135s -- 17 of the tankers were assigned to active-duty teams and the other eight assigned to air reserve technicians.

"It's absolutely amazing working with the 931st AMXS in this program," Richardson said. "You have a more seasoned squadron of maintainers, as a lot of the 931st AMXS guys were prior active duty. They have a lot of experience maintaining aircraft, so mixing those with our young (active-duty) guys really helps enhance the program immensely."

The team includes a DCC, an NCO in charge, and at least one assistant DCC.

Since one crew is dedicated and familiar with that aircraft, a main benefit will be the reduction of chain-reaction problems, where one thing goes bad and other problems follow said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Jordan, a 22nd AMXS DCC.

"When everybody looks at (the aircraft) they are going to think of me, because my name is on the side," Jordan said. "It gives you a sense of pride and lets you establish continuity with the aircraft, instead of bouncing from aircraft to aircraft. You actually get to focus on one and put a little bit of your own personality into it."

Other career fields, not just crew chiefs, can be DDCs and assistant DCCs as well. Specialists such as guidance and control, communication navigations, and electronic environmental Airmen can also be assigned to an aircraft.

"It's not just assigning a person to a jet; it's about assigning the right person and the right team," Richardson said. "Passion is the driving motivator behind the DCC program. If you have passion to maintain the aircraft and you have that pride in ownership, that's whose name I want on the jet."