MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.- Master Sgt. Kathleen Disney, a loadmaster with the 313th Airlift Squadron here, chains up a pallet of goods to be transported to Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze. Sergeant Disney was an instructor at the C17A Loadmaster Initial Qualification Course, Altus Air Force Base, Okla., last year and will teach there again when she returns from Deep Freeze. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle)
MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.- Master Sgt. Kathleen Disney, a loadmaster with the 313th Airlift Squadron here, chains up a pallet of goods that will be transported to Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze, a humanitarian mission to transport good and equipment to the civilians at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Sergeant Disney took a brief break from training future loadmaster instructors at the C-17A Instructor Loadmaster Course, Altus Air Force Base, Okla., in order to get her Deep Freeze Instructor certification . (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle)
by Tech. Sgt. Jake Chappelle
446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
9/24/2009 - MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Most people wouldn't imagine a Reservist being an instructor at a formal training school, much less teaching future instructors. However, a loadmaster from the 313th Airlift Squadron here did both for the past year.
Master Sgt. Kathleen Disney, 313th AS, instructed the C-17A Loadmaster Initial Qualification Course and the C-17A Instructor Loadmaster Course, Altus Air Force Base, Okla., and will go back to teach again mid October.
"We are extremely proud to have Sergeant Disney represent the 313th AS, 446th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve as an instructor for AETC (Air Education and Training Command)," said Senior Master Sgt. Terrance Philon, 313th AS chief loadmaster. "It reinforces to our active-duty counterparts that we all adhere to the same academic standard of excellence."
Sergeant Disney also flies with the 58th Airlift Squadron out of Altus AFB.
The 58th AS is the nation's only formal C-17A Combat Crew Training School, said Sergeant Disney, who resides in the city of Altus, Okla. The squadron provides training for pilots and loadmasters in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and international students. The school trains more than 1,100 students per year.
According to Sergeant Disney, being a Reservist gives her an advantage in being an instructor.
"I think the first quality is that I'm a Reservist," said Sergeant Disney, who is a prior active-duty loadmaster. "When I'm flying with a Reserve or Guard student I can understand what other pressures they may be experiencing, such as getting back to work with their civilian employer."
Sergeant Philon credits Sergeant Disney's knowledge, experience, and leadership skills to making her a good instructor.
Sergeant Disney is one of the squadron's most experienced and knowledgeable NCO's, said Sergeant Philon, who has been with the 313th for 29 years. Her ability to mentor and lead is an asset to the squadron and the lesser experienced loadmasters. Her work ethic and dedication to excellence are evident by her extensive schedule at Altus AFB and here. Her expertise is paramount and lauded by her peers.
Sergeant Disney explains how she got selected as an instructor.
"All instructors are handpicked," said Sergeant Disney, who has been with the 313th AS since 1999. "When I arrived at Altus (AFB), I was already a qualified instructor-loadmaster with the 313th AS and was flying non-training lines for the 58th AS for my own currency. They offered me a chance to be an instructor with them."
According to Sergeant Disney, the basic curriculum covers a lot of detailed instruction over a four-month period.
Students train with Air Force instructors for the flying portion of their training and Boeing instructors for their simulator and computer-based training requirements, said Sergeant Disney. The instruction teaches new loadmasters how to complete aircraft pre flights, vehicle loading, pallets, and preparing the aircraft for departure. For the instructor candidates, the focus is on instructional techniques, instructor policies, and Air Force Instructions. The school can be very hard for the new Airmen coming in the Air Force.
Sergeant Philon believes Sergeant Disney, who has more than 5,200 flying hours, has the right tools to train these Airmen well, regardless of the tough curriculum.
When back here, Sergeant Disney volunteers and participates in contingency missions, said Sergeant Philon. She's involved in loadmaster new-hire interviews and helps with the Enlisted Performance Report program. She was personally selected for Operation Deep Freeze 2009-2010 where she plans to gain her Deep Freeze Instructor certification.