Deployed aerospace ground equipment technicians keep mission flying high

By Senior Airman Preston Webb 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

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At the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, if planes aren’t in the air, they’re constantly receiving maintenance to return to the fight. Aerospace ground equipment specialists play a pivotal role in ensuring 380 AEW aircraft are flight ready.

For aircraft and their crews to deliver decisive airpower against ISIS, teams of maintainers work around the clock to get them off the ground. This means their ground equipment such as generators, air conditioners, hydraulic test stands, liquid cooling units, and bomb lift-loaders have to be in constant working order.

The 45-person flight maintains and repairs nearly 500 pieces of aerospace ground equipment to meet the demands of the airpower mission. All the while it maintains a high ratio of mission capable equipment versus pieces in need of repair.

"We like to hold ourselves above 90 percent in-commission rate, but we have a great crew of mechanics here in the AGE flight so we try to operate around 93 to 95 percent depending on work load,” said Master Sgt. Joshua, 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment flight chief. “AGE plays a vital role by providing reliable, critical support equipment to aircraft so they can turn around and support other agencies in the [Area of Responsibility]."

Maintaining mission readiness for all of the aircraft from the only wing to support all five Air Force core missions requires careful coordination between a myriad of entities to ensure they can effectively support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

“It's a team effort, and I feel great knowing our work makes the mission happen,” said Senior Airman Nathan, 380th EMXS aerospace ground equipment journeyman. “Once we deliver the equipment, the crew chiefs are able to do their job and everybody gets the jet in the air.”

From inspecting and troubleshooting to making hands-on repairs and maintaining proper standards, the AGE flight works 24/7 overcoming obstacles in the AOR to ensure that other maintenance teams have the equipment they need launch aircraft on-time.

"Extreme temperatures definitely play a role in our operations," Joshua said. "It's a struggle for the mechanics working out in the heat to keep the equipment running. Between the heat, the sand and corrosion, there's a lot of different obstacles the AGE flight needs to work together to overcome and ensure the mission is completed."

The type of ground equipment necessary to provide support to aircraft maintenance and flying operations depends on the aircraft systems and subsystems. Maintaining the variety of missions at the 380 AEW, and the specialized equipment that come with them, requires exceptional diversity.

"We have Airmen integrated from 12 different bases here that really come together as a team to share their knowledge and get the job done," Joshua said. "Without AGE equipment, crew chiefs wouldn't be able to perform their maintenance or inspections, and these aircraft wouldn’t be able to take off."


Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the U.S. Air Forces Central Command website.