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Crews going through the C-21

Battle Creek ANGB -- The C-21 has been on the ground since last fall and crew members have been busy looking over the manuals and going through the aircraft to learn the new airframe. 

The C-21 has been a different experience for those maintaining it and so far, the switch from the A-10 to the C-21 has been fairly smooth. 

"We have been focusing more on the customer satisfaction of the C-21 with attention to cleanliness," said Master Sgt. Steve Waltzer, "we could be flying Generals or possibly the Governor around so we want the aircraft clean." Sergeant Waltzer has been with the 110th Fighter Wing since 2001 and has been with the Air National Guard for a total of eighteen years. 

"The exterior requires washing and polishing for the C-21 whereas the A-10 you only washed," said Sergeant Waltzer. 

The C-21 obviously lacks the combat flying mission and that according to Sergeant Waltzer, has also been a transition. "The A-10 needed bombs, bullets, and gas for a one hour mission and then it came back and needed more, the C-21 could be gone for a few hours or a day and come back and just need to be cleaned and refueled," said Sergeant Waltzer. 

"The manuals are not as detailed but we are figuring it out, that's been a big adjustment for us," said Sergeant Waltzer. The C-21 came with manuals that were done by a private contractor versus being written by the U.S. Air Force. 

While the manual is smaller than and not as detailed as the A-10 was, training has taken place both offsite and on the job. Airman 1st Class Michael Wilson was new to the unit and came back trained up for the A-10 just in time to see it leave the base. He spent thirty days in Connecticut working on a C-21 to understand the new details. "It seems easier but with a lot of technical data," said Airman Wilson, "In Connecticut I would go clean it, refuel it, and make it look nice and it would come back for more fuel."
Airman 1st Class Rebecca Merrick is also new to the unit and previously trained on the A-10. She too is now working on the C-21. 

"We've gone through the manuals a lot but are also going out to get some hands on experience too," said Airman Merrick. She came back from tech school in the fall and has conducted a few inspections on the C-21. 

Both Airmen are trained for the A-10 and while Selfridge would allow them the opportunity to continue working on the A-10, both are looking forward to learning about the C-21. 

Lately, those working on the C-21 have spent their time getting more training on the aircraft. There are currently two C-21s are at Battle Creek. There could soon be a total of around five to seven in the future.