It is hard to believe that the first 4 months of 2010 are pretty much done. Almost all the stuff that I did in the first 4 months involved work. We had a very major inspection a month ago. That meant that every hour at work was spent preparing for the inspection in one way or another. In addition to doing the normal stuff at work.
I guess you could say I changed jobs 3 times at work in the first 4 months. All the changes were good though. I went from running the shop floor for the inspection section, which is a really fun job when things are going right, to running the inspection section. I didn't think there would be much of a change from running the shop floor to running the whole section, but man was I wrong. Instead of worrying about equipment I was worrying about people. The flight chief was asking me questions that I had to ask other people to get the answer to get back to the flight chief. That was only the beginning. About 2 weeks into running the inspection section my flight chief approached me about taking yet another job within the shop as the scheduler.
Now, being a scheduler sort of sounds like being a glorified secretary. You know, somebody needs an appointment to see somebody and you write it in a book an BAM, you're done. Uh, that's not what a scheduler does in the USAF maintenance world (to include aircraft and support equipment). I reluctantly took the job since I had never done any of it before. I quickly found out that it was a very involved task of tracking 480 pieces of equipment. The tracking included ensuring each piece made it to the shop twice a year for inspection without overloading the shop with work or taking too many pieces of equipment from the flightline for aircraft maintenance. Also included in the tracking piece was selecting equipment to go downrange (out of the country to other parts of the world to support our aircraft) based on their inspection due dates and overall condition. In addition to this I also had to make sure that the history of each piece of equipment was tracked by another office and coordinate with them to ensure that they knew what we had.
The scheduling job turned out to be a temporary job for me. I was filling in for another guy who had royally messed the whole process up. I started to get it fixed just in time to get us through the inspection with flying colors. Immediately following the inspection I trained my replacement. He received a much more complete product than what was thrown my direction. As I was training my replacement I was being trained to move up to take over as the section leader of Production Support. Which means I am now in charge of scheduling (overseeing the whole program), supply (making sure our supply person orders parts and such), benchstock (spare parts), special tools (lots of dollar signs there), equipment accounts (sign on the line accounting for the few million dollars worth of equipment we own), and a myriad of other things.
I have been the Production Support section leader, or NCOIC (Non-commissioned Officer In Charge) of Production Support since the first week of April. However, I have not had a chance to do anything in the position yet. Immediately after taking the NCOIC position I went to Germany (Ramstein AFB) for 6 weeks of training at the NCO (non-commissioned officer) Academy.
I have been here in Germany for 2 weeks. The training is a fast paced school where we are basically overloaded with assignments (writing memorandums, preparing briefings, doing physical training, reading assignments of 50-100 pages a night, and preparing our uniforms) much like the fast paced life of the military today. The first 2 weeks are the base for the remainder of the 6 weeks.
There are about 140 people in the class as a whole, which is broken up into 10 flights of 14 or 15 people. Each flight has their own classroom were we spend at least 8 hours a day learning the required material. Nobody in my class does my job. The underlying goal of the school is to create networking opportunities. After 6 weeks of spending 8-10 hours with the same people we are going to be intimately aware of who we can trust and who we are going to avoid for the rest of our career.
I am looking forward to graduating in a month. However, I am surprised at how much I do not miss Italy. I guess I wasn't settled in as much as I thought I was. Then again, being extremely busy has kept my mind from wandering back to my apartment and perks of living in my own place.
By the time I actually get back to work it will be the end of May. The first week of June I should be hitting my stride again after being away from the shop for month and a half. I am going to make it a priority to sign up for a college class (more than likely speech since I will be giving a few briefings during the school here). That will take care of some free time in the summer. Then all the sudden it will be the fall and I will within a year of leaving Italy and heading to yet another place.