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News > Deployed maintainers make “the magic” happen
Deployed maintainers make “the magic” happen

Posted 4/13/2012   Updated 4/13/2012 Email story   Print story


by Maj. Jeffrey Matthew
714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

4/13/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- I recently deployed and served with Airmen from my own squadron, the 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Serving as the officer in charge of an aircraft maintenance unit within the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, I was able to watch these marvelous maintainers make "the magic" happen in the fast-paced operations tempo typical of a deployed environment.

During our deployment, we were joined by some familiar faces.

Our active-duty counterparts from 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here and Reserve and active-duty maintainers from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., the Air Force's only other KC-10 base, worked side-by-side with us during the deployment.

The Reserve and active-duty Airmen from both bases work in a classic associate relationship and have become the epitome of total force integration. These strong relationships were evident as the connections between the active-duty and Reserve Airmen from Travis and McGuire streamlined the mobilization and deployment process for all involved, allowing us to focus on the tasks at hand.

Maintainers worked together to recover, maintain, gas and launch the mighty KC-10 into the air to provide fuel for fighters and bombers, which in turn, provided close-air support for our brothers and sisters on the ground.

Daily, the Airmen split into teams that moved around the flightline, providing 24-hour maintenance and working non-stop to meet the demands inherent of the war zone. And yes, these maintainers recovered, maintained and launched aircraft all through the day and night on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

While the experience was very busy and hectic, it was extremely successful. Any maintenance organization will tirelessly track stats because they help add facts to the mission and story, so here are some of the deployed KC-10s stats from 2011. The aircraft flew more than 36,700 hours in nearly 4,600 missions, delivering 390 million pounds of fuel to 28,000 aircraft. These impressive stats were achieved with one third of the KC-10 fleet and a work force about half the size of the 714th AMXS and it should go without saying that this effort would not be possible without outstanding aircraft maintainers.

It was incredibly gratifying to watch Airmen from all backgrounds come together to work the KC-10 and make the mission happen. It was also so very satisfying and humbling to be able to deploy and work with these mighty maintainers.

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