Civilian Maintainer Among Leadership School’s Best
By Randy Martin, 12th Flying Training Wing
/ Published August 30, 2018
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- A 12th Maintenance Group employee completed the Rogers Airman Leadership School at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Aug. 29, 2018 earning distinguished graduate honors.
Richard Kilpper, an aircraft engine quality assurance inspector, was among ALS Class 18-6’s top seven Airmen academically. He was the only civilian among 64 students.
“Our civilian and sister service students tend to do very well academically,” said RALS Commandant Master Sgt. Andrew Post.
Kilpper was the first civilian maintainer Post has seen in the course.
“Mr. Kilpper was able to keep up with objectively unfamiliar curriculum and he was an active leader in his flight and the class overall,” Post said.
The 24-day course focuses on professional airmanship, supervisory communication, supervision of Airmen, and expeditionary Airmen training. According to Post, RALS is required for Air Force staff sergeants, many of whom go on to become supervisors.
For now Kilpper will continue to work in his current job at JBSA-Randolph but there were other benefits for him professionally.
“ALS helped me understand the importance of providing standards and feedback to those around me, regardless of their place in the hierarchy,” said Kilpper after graduation.
Kilpper’s road to the RALS and his career in the Air Force started between junior and senior year in high school 13 years ago as an intern in what is now the 12th Maintenance Group at JBSA-Randolph. “Throughout my career I have tried to be a continuous learner,” said Kilpper.
In 2006 he was hired as a maintainer on the T-1A Jayhawk and T-38C Talon at the phase maintenance docks. He earned a Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant License in 2008. Later he was a T-38 crew chief. He helped establish the 12th MXG’s Maintenance Training Facility where he instructed and at the same time worked in unscheduled maintenance.
“This thirst for self-improvement and knowledge, and an extremely supportive chain of command has provided me with many opportunities for personal and professional development that I hope will improve the maintenance unit, and the Air Force as a whole.”
The school’s leaders say they hope the mission allows more civilian maintainers to enroll in their course.
“With how busy we get in the Air Force these days, it’s great to see upcoming leaders in the civilian corps have the opportunity to come out to learn what’s important to the enlisted corps,” Post said.