By Spc. Shanika L. FutrellMarch 22, 2011
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 22, 2011) Aca,!" Every airframe shop in the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Thunder, has one very important mission and thatAca,!a,,cs putting the aircraft back in the fight quickly.
However, when the aircraft comes in for an assessment; if the damage exceeds the aviation unit level of maintenance, then the Company B, TF FightingAca,!a,,cs Soldiers take on the responsibility.
The airframe shop in Company B, TF Fighting say that they conduct twenty-four hours operation to complete their mission in order to have the aircraft up and running.
Aca,!A"To service and repair all of the airframes within this unit and more if needed is what we do,Aca,!A? said Spc. Miguel Peralta, the daytime production control representative, Company B, TF Fighting. Aca,!A"To provide the aircraft in a timely manner, we work all day on the day shift, and then pass the duties to the night shift and when we return in the morning, we take back over. We know how important an aviation mission is to the ground forces, so we intend to keep them effective by providing a timely service every day and every night.Aca,!A?
Since arriving in theater, TF Thunder airframe shops have contributed to a countless amount of airframe maintenance to all aircraft here. Their job can be very complicated due to the type of damage the aircraft has.
Aca,!A"We conduct minor maintenance on the aircraft daily, since we have quite a few OH-58, Kiowa, helicopters and AH-64, Apache helicopters in our battalion,Aca,!A? said Spc. Chris Moore, a structural aviation repairer, Troop D, TF Palehorse. Aca,!A"If the aircraft contains more damage than unit level maintenance, we will pass the work to a higher level of maintenance.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"As the aviation intermediate level of maintenance, we conduct all of the maintenance that any of the battalions or attached units cannot conduct at the unit level of maintenance,Aca,!A? said Pfc. Kenneth Hicks, a structural aviation repairer from Big Sandy, Tenn.
There are several maintenance shops that help to keep the aircraft mission ready, but airframe Soldiers say that their job takes time to complete.
Aca,!A"Out of all the maintenance shops within the brigade, our part is the most time consuming,Aca,!A? said Peralta. Aca,!A"We use certain chemicals on our parts that have to dry before we continue to work on them.Aca,!A?
Specialist Greg Villagomez, a structural aviation repairer, Company D, 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment says that they work on several different parts of the aircraft.
Aca,!A"We work on the blades and the skin of the aircraft,Aca,!A? said Villagomez. Aca,!A"Pretty much anything that is metal, fiberglass or plexiglas we repair on the aircraft.Aca,!A?
Structural aviation repairers try to fix all of the parts to an aircraft, but if they cannot fix it, they have the capabilities to fabricate their own parts.
Aca,!A"Because of certain damages not being able to be repaired, we have to often fabricate a part, which takes time as well. But because we know that we cannot afford to have a bird down for too long, we ensure that we stay on top of everything giving equal coverage to all airframes.Aca,!A?
Some tasks are more difficult than others, when it comes to maintaining an aircraft, but the airframe Soldiers say that they are up for the tasks at hand.
Aca,!A"What seems to be a ten-minute job on the outside could very well turn into a couple of dayAca,!a,,cs work of tasks,Aca,!A? said Staff Sgt. Michael Haynes, the hydraulics and airframes Non-Commissioned officer, Co. D, 7th Batt., 101st Avn. Regt. Aca,!A"Once you tear the aircraft down and assess the battle damages you will find out the exact maintenance that needs to be done for the aircraft to be mission ready.Aca,!A?
Because of the different components on the aircraft that the airframe Soldiers have to fix, Soldiers say that underneath the aircraft is difficult to them to fix, but they always get the job done.
Aca,!A"Working underneath the aircraft is difficult because of the angle that we have to work in,Aca,!A? said Villagomez. Aca,!A"It is very tedious that we ensure that all parts are fixed and properly positioned back in its place, ensuring that we do not damage any of our equipment or any of the other shops area of responsibility.Aca,!A?
The airframe shop plays a critical role in the brigadeAca,!a,,cs mission, and they know that by working diligently, but hastily they are making the difference in several lives.
Aca,!A"Our mission is the same as many other shops here behind the scenes, and that is to keep our air crew supporting our troops out there on the ground,Aca,!A? said Peralta. Aca,!A"I know that the faster we get things done, the more lives that are being saved out there in the fight. I am proud to do what little I can to share in that mission and my team will continue to do our job to bring the troops back home.Aca,!A?