Grissom converts maintenance roles to civilian

CONTRIBUTED PHOTOWORKING: Tech. Sgt. Tanner Fye, 434th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, evaluates Staff Sgt. Stephanie Dimenco, 434th Maintenance Squadron isochronal crew chief, during her November performance evaluation for critical lubrication items at Grissom Air Reserve Base.

Jeans and T-shirts weren’t a common sight on the flight line at Grissom Air Reserve Base, but changes to positions in the new year will bring a new type of employee to work on the 434th Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135R Stratotankers.

For the first time since the base’s realignment as a Reserve base in 1994, the 434th Maintenance Group has converted seven air reserve technician positions to straight civilian positions.

While ARTs, as they are called, are full-time civilian positions that also require the employee to be a member of the Air Force Reserve unit in which they are employed, civilian positions do not have a military obligation.

“The transition of these ART positions to straight civilian positions brings many benefits,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Billing, 434th Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “We get the possibility of having ARTs converting to straight civilians, staying around longer, and passing down their experience to younger Airmen.”

One limitation to the ART program is the member’s mandatory separation due to years of service or age.

“For most ARTs, their civilian high year of tenure will match their military high year of tenure of 33 years of service or age 60 whichever comes first,” said Wesley Marion, 434th ARW civilian personnel liaison. “Most straight civilians are not limited to high year of tenure.”

Due to the state of the economy and high demand from commercial airlines, keeping ART vacancies full has been a struggle throughout Air Force Reserve Command, not just at Grissom.

“In the past, there weren’t any federal job opportunities for retiring ARTs to go so they simply retired. This has led to a much younger ART force,” said Billing. “The new positions keep that experience here and allow current ARTs the ability to retire from the military and continue serving as a civilian.”

In an effort to expedite filling those positions, they have been classified with direct hire authority. Direct hire authority gives supervisors the ability to bypass the standard hiring process and hire applicants through their experience based off their resumes.

At Grissom, two units are currently making the transition.

The 434th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron positions include two crew chiefs, one hydraulics technician, and one electrical/environmental technician.

The 434th MXS positions include three crew chiefs.

The 434th MXS will be accepting applications through Jan. 13, 2020. The positions are WG-10 and PCS costs are available. Application packages with resume can be emailed to james.billing.1@us.af.mil.

For further information regarding 434th MXS positions contact Billing at 765-688-3986, and for information regarding 434th AMXS positions contact Chief Master Sgt. Chad Weisend at 765-688-2098.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in Air Force Reserve Command. The Reserve Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.