LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Capt. Stephen MacDonald, 85th Flying Training Squadron assistant director of operations, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of Apr. 9, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Charlie Velino, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
MacDonald redesigned the process for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 18-15 to move to phase three of training, ensuring that a four-week hiatus wouldn’t set the class back.
“Class 18-15 tracked right after the T-6 fleet stood down,” he said. “Working with leadership at all levels, as well as the other UPT bases, we were able to work multiple syllabus waivers and innovate new ways to get the full class complete on time. I think that the work that everyone put into getting that class tracked, laid the groundwork for the new T-6 syllabus.”
MacDonald took the time to put his Airmen in the spotlight they deserved, writing eight separate awards packages for evaluation.
“There are so many individuals within the squadron doing incredible things both in and out of the aircraft and the squadron for that matter,” MacDonald said. “It was important to me to do what I could to help get as many of those people recognized for their accomplishments.”
As the base’s “T-6 Nation” operations supervisor, known locally as the ops SUP, he also oversees the scheduling, equipment and relevant training publications are current.
“Ensuring that Ops SUPs get proper training is incredibly important,” MacDonald said. “The T-6 Ops SUP is the hub for all T-6 operations. Whenever anyone has a question T-6 related, their first stop is usually the SUP, so making sure all SUPs are on the same page is crucial.”
He also pitched in a hand in the face of a manning crisis, flying 13 student pilot check flights when his unit needed him the most. Check flights, or checkrides, are used to assess a student's progress and potential to complete the T-6 program.
“There was an opportunity for me to help out, so I earned the additional qualification of giving student checkrides to help alleviate manning shortfalls and to ensure students were getting their checkrides in a timely manner,” MacDonald said.
For going above and beyond in his duties and keeping Team XL’s student pilots on track, Capt. MacDonald earned the “XLer of the week” award.