20th OSS Airmen prepare for merge

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brendan Milligan, 20th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) ground radar systems technician, center, checks radar parameter values at a monitor and a Digital Airport Surveillance Radar control screen as Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician, right, and Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems noncommissioned officer in charge, observe at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brendan Milligan, 20th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) ground radar systems technician, center, checks radar parameter values at a monitor and a Digital Airport Surveillance Radar control screen as Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician, right, and Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems noncommissioned officer in charge, observe at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017. Milligan ensured the parameters were within the established standards and tolerances while describing the process to non-ground radar systems Airmen visiting the facility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) airfield systems technician, adjusts a radio receiver for audio cut-off levels at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) airfield systems technician, adjusts a radio receiver for audio cut-off levels at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017. In addition to furthering her own skills as an airfield systems technician, Sides helps teach ground radar systems Airmen about her job in preparation for an Air Force Specialty Code merge scheduled for March 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th Operations Support Squadron airfield systems technician, sets up a signal generator for radio receiver tuning at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th Operations Support Squadron airfield systems technician, sets up a signal generator for radio receiver tuning at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 4, 2017. Airfield systems Airmen are responsible for the maintenance of all ground-to-air communications, navigations and weather systems, but will be expected to have knowledge of how to maintain the radars air traffic controllers use to guide aircraft after an Air Force Specialty Code merge scheduled for March 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Airmen assigned to the 20th Operations Support Squadron are getting ahead of the curve by preparing for an Air Force Specialty Code merger scheduled for November.

Currently separated into two shops, ground radar systems and airfield systems Airmen have begun working together to meet training milestones and increase their understanding of the work their coworkers do.

The Airmen will also be aligned with their industry counterparts who perform all ground radar and airfield systems tasks under one career field.

“We’re still learning how the merger will impact us,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Marple, 20th OSS airfield systems noncommissioned officer in charge, “but, we know what worked and what didn’t work in the last two mergers, so we’re using those tools to get ahead of it.”

Once the merger is complete, all technicians will be expected to have a working knowledge of how to maintain the equipment each section was previously responsible for. This includes all ground-to-air communications, navigations and weather systems, as well as the radars air traffic controllers use to guide aircraft.

The Airmen developed a training strategy by learning from past experiences such as the merge of the ground radio and meteorological navigation career fields, said Staff Sgt. Rajiv Shetty, 20th OSS ground radar systems NCOIC. The plan outlined milestones and deadlines each team member should reach as well as solutions for potential issues.

If a technician from either shop is called out to perform a task, their counterpart will accompany for on-the-job training, said Airman 1st Class Darricka Sides, 20th OSS airfield systems technician. This process of teaching others also helps Sides learn more and become more proficient in her job.

However, airfield systems Airmen may not have the chance to obtain hands-on training with the equipment due to the limited time radars are down for maintenance, therefore, formal training is available at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.

As they achieve their training, the 20th OSS Airmen also improve their teamwork skills.

“Each shop was used to doing things their own way, but working to help train each other has led to more togetherness,” said Shetty. “It may be a challenge to consolidate, but we welcome the challenge of this merger.”