170th Group’s new squadron helps grow RC-135 maintenance community

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond, 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 170th Group of the Nebraska Air National Guard recently established two new squadrons to help nurture its Total Force partnership with the 55th Wing.

The 170th Maintenance Support Squadron, one of the two new squadrons, was stood up to specifically help grow the wing’s RC-135 maintenance family.

“We currently have 45 part-time billets and will eventually add 19 full-time, or what we call Active Guard Reserve positions, over the next few years,” said Lt. Col. Sam Schneider, 170th MXSS commander. “The ability to provide stability and experience to the RC-135 community has proven to be beneficial to both the ANG and active duty.”

Maintaining continuity between the 170th Group and 55th Wing has been one of the driving forces behind establishing the two new squadrons. As far as the 170th MXSS goes, keeping qualified and separating active duty members within the maintenance family combined with the addition of ANG members is what is needed for this vision to take place.

“Some of these talented Airmen get tired of moving their family every two-to-three years,” said Col. Wendy Squarcia, 170th Group commander. “So being able to continue to serve their country in an Air National Guard capacity, we can keep that continuity and expertise here in the 170th Group and 55th Wing.”

Schneider said he is happy to see the plan come together to expand the 170th Group and add even more continuity to the already blossoming relationship.

“This is a 10-year project coming to fruition and our vision is to provide continuity and experience to the RC-135 maintenance community,” he said. “Over the course of the next decade, we want to retain the best and brightest, and make a tremendous impact to operations here at Offutt.”

Already making an impact on those operations is Airman 1st Class Samantha Spann-Moore, the first ANG RC-135 maintainer in the 170th MXSS.

Spann-Moore started her military career in the ANG while her husband served on active duty with the 55th Maintenance Group. When the 170th MXSS stood up she jumped at the chance to be part of the new squadron since it is only 10 minutes away from her apartment.

“One thing about active duty is you can be moved around easily,” said Spann-Moore. “But the guard members of the 170th will remain, and their experience and knowledge will be helpful through many years of moving Airmen in and out of Offutt.”

Schneider said Spann-Moore is exactly what the 170th MXSS needs to be successful.

“She's said she is happiest when she's on the flightline, working with the aircraft, and that is precisely the type of energy I'm looking for,” he said. “She is paving the way for the remaining guardsmen who will follow.”

Spann-Moore is ready to share her expertise with new additions to the maintenance community.

“For us to be able to provide our experience to the incoming Airmen will be extremely helpful to them moving forward,” she said.

In her new role, Schneider said Spann-Moore is a great example of what the ANG can provide to others looking to remain in the area and in uniform.

“She may not be actively recruiting new members, but her very presence on the flightline provides exposure to the potential opportunities the ANG can provide,” he said. “I remind all of my troops ‘you are all recruiters.’ By turning wrenches, launching and recovering aircraft, all with a smile on her face, she’s helping to grow the unit.”