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Sheppard AFB Celebrates "21 M-A-R Day" (Commentary)

  • Published
  • By David Saville
  • 363d TRS

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – All things related to the 21X Air Force Specialty Code was celebrated by the 82d Training Wing on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at a “21 M-A-R Day” event here.

Just as "May the 4th" is unofficially Star Wars Day (sounds like "May the force be with you"), the 21st of March unofficially celebrates "21 M-A-R Day," based on the combination of the Air Force 21M (Munitions Maintenance Officer), 21A (Aircraft Maintenance Officer) and 21R (Logistics Readiness Officer) career fields.  The Air Force's Maintenance and Logistics Officers are collectively known as "21X," based on the functional grouping of the AFSC 21M, 21A and 21R and represent critical roles in the Air Force.

There is no better place to celebrate “21 M-A-R Day” than the 82d TRW. The 82d TRW is not only the largest technical training organization in the Air Force, it is also the home of the Air Force Logistics Officer School. AFLOS is the single, consolidated training organization for all 21X initial and intermediate skills training.

AFLOS did not invent the "21 M-A-R Day" idea, but it’s an appropriate place to celebrate it, and to do so in a big way. This event was the biggest “21 M-A-R Day” celebration to date.   

That may seem like a bold claim, but the "21 M-A-R Day" idea is only a few years old and not well known yet.  Sheppard AFB leadership hopes to change that.   Sheppard celebrated “21 M-A-R Day” only once before, in March 2022, with a smaller footprint, including approximately 50 AFLOS students.  Today’s celebration was much bigger with approximately 200 in attendance.

Brig. Gen. Lyle Drew, Commander of the 82d Training Wing, said, “It is appropriate that we celebrate the importance of the 21X career fields to the Air Force and our Joint and Coalition Partners.” 

“21 M-A-R Day is a great way to celebrate AFLOS,” said Col. Kirk Peterson, Vice Commander of the 82d Training Wing. “AFLOS paved the way for the Air Force’s shift to the core-competency behavior model for training and education and has re-written all curriculum to support these changes.”  

AFLOS trains 21X officers in the maintenance, munitions and logistics readiness specialties through at least 12 different in-residence training courses. AFLOS instructors and staff are made up of approximately 25 officers and civilians.  The officers are all 21M, 21A, and 21R, and most of the civilians have prior military experience in or related to those same three career fields.  AFLOS is organizationally aligned under the 82d Training Group in the 82d TRW and enjoys a close administrative control (ADCON) relationship with the 363d Training Squadron.  AFLOS has a combined throughput of over 1,900 students per year, including 400 Guard and Reserve students and 70 international officers from 53 coalition partners.

The history of AFLOS tells the 21X story.  AFLOS as we know it today was created in 2014 when the 21R training courses moved from San Antonio and merged with the Aircraft and Munitions Maintenance Officer Courses (AMMOC), which had been at Sheppard since 1993, resulting in the schoolhouse's name change to AFLOS.  This was the first big step to combine the primary training functions of the Air Force's 21M, 21A, and 21R initial and intermediate skills level training under one roof.  Sheppard's first class of 28 Logistics Readiness Officer Course students graduated from AFLOS at Sheppard AFB in May 2015. 

In 2022, the 21M ICBM Maintenance Officer Course moved from Vandenberg AFB, California, to Sheppard AFB.  This event aligned 100% of all 21X initial skills training under one roof for the first time in Air Force history.