By Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell, 107th Attack Wing
/ Published February 24, 2017
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION (Feb. 23, 2017) -- More than 20 Airmen attended training given by General Motors and AC Delco regional instructors, hosted by the 107th Logistics Readiness Squadron here, February 22 and 23, 2017.
The training, put on by Paddock Chevrolet in Kenmore, saw Airmen from Air National Guard units across several states attend the two-day original equipment manufacturer training. Over the two days, they will learn the latest in GM specific diagnostic procedures and see the latest in diesel engine technology.
“We are here to offer General Motors training to the Airmen for the benefit of whole region,” said Peter Adornetto, a commercial/wholesale parts representative from Paddock Chevrolet. “We have Airmen here from Ohio, Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia and Michigan.”
After bringing a training class to the air base in the fall, the idea was proposed to offer training to the entire region and was well received by National Guard Bureau, said Adornetto.
With continuous advancements in technology, it becomes important for the Airmen that maintain their unit’s fleet of vehicles to further their skills.
“It is critical,” said Adornetto. “We’re living in the age of technology and as we look at a 2017 model compared to a vehicle 30 years ago where it’s degree of complexity was maybe spark plugs, points and a condenser, to what’s on a vehicle today where its reputed there is probably more newer technology than on a space shuttle.”
All of the components of vehicles are becoming more computer coordinated which makes it important for the people that work on them to stay ahead of these emerging technologies, said Adornetto. The hope is that training in the latest OEM technologies can be brought to Air National Guard units on a yearly basis, said Adornetto.
The training has allowed the Airmen to get hands-on training with the latest procedures and resources from GM.
“We’ve had basic electrical training to get everyone up to speed on the electronics of the vehicles,” said Tech Sgt. Michael Bajer, a heavy equipment mechanic with the 107th LRS. “We covered voltage drops, went over the communication systems and the controller area network bus on the vehicles.”
Part of the training saw the Airmen get the opportunity to work with a 2017 Silverado, allowing them to work with the latest developments in diesel engines.
“We also covered the function, theory and how things work on the new diesel exhaust fluid systems that are being added to the diesel vehicles,” said Bajer. “Along with the theory, operation and scan-tool information on the new diesel engines and the new diesel particulate filters.”
Gaining these new skills will help reduce the amount of time vehicles spend in maintenance, and increase the ability to properly diagnose and make repairs correctly the first time, said Bajer.
Some of the Air National Guard’s newest Airmen have been sent to learn from these experts and bring back the valuable knowledge to their units.
“It’s been very useful, I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know about GM vehicles,” said Airman 1st Class Tea Moulton-Childs, a mechanic from the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. “I learned how to check wires and diagnose certain electrical malfunctions, things I would have been unsure of before coming here.”
Northern climates tend to be hard on these sensitive components, making this training even more valuable to those that regularly encounter the problems it causes.
“One of the biggest things that’s going to help us is the electrical,” said Airman 1st Class Hayden Shoup, a technician from Detachment 1 of the 200th Red Horse Squadron, Mansfield, Ohio. “Where I’m from, wires just don’t last very long so the electrical side of vehicles is typically the first to fail.”
Tech school may not have been too long ago for these Airmen, but they know much advancement can be made in the automotive world, and keeping up on it can make their jobs easier.
“They will come out with one vehicle and in six months come out with a vehicle that has completely different systems,” said Moulton-Childs. “Vehicles are basically the same, it’s how they get it work is different and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can go at repairs the wrong way.”
Having the training brought specifically to the Airmen allows them to relate more of what they’re learning to what they might encounter at their units.
“With the training brought on base it makes it easier because we are training on vehicles we are actually working on,” said Bajer. “We can get a better understanding of the vehicles we have and the instructors can tailor their instruction to our needs instead of going over information on systems we don’t have.”
The instructors presented the Airmen with a level of instruction that equates to what GM certified technicians receive.
“The information that was presented was the type that you would get as a dealership technician,” said Bajer. “It’s the same as going to a GM training center so it’s great to have them come here and share that level of knowledge.”
The training also has a universal appeal, as some of the procedures and technology the Airmen are learning about will be common to vehicles not only from GM, said Bajer. The information learned here not only applies to the newest model year vehicles, but also to any model year vehicle that might be found across the Air National Guard whether it is 2005 or 1995, said Bajer.
Feedback towards the training was positive, with the Airmen looking forward to taking their new skills back to their units.
“If you’re not learning twice as fast as you’re forgetting, you’ll never get ahead,” said Shoup.