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389th Phase Section Keeps F-15E Strike Eagles in Fighting Shape

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jim Bentley
  • 389th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron

Whether they’re engaging regional aggressors or providing protection for ground troops, the F-15E Strike Eagles have to be in peak operating condition in order to effectively carry out the combat mission. This means regular repairs are needed, but also that every effort must be made to prevent mechanical failures before they occur. This is why, every 400 flying hours, these jets have to go to the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron Phase Section.


“We’ll do a full, thorough inspection,” says Senior Airman Wesley Tynes, crew chief. “We take off panels, remove parts, and work in tandem with the other shops, [such as] sheet metal, avionics, metals tech and so forth.”


As the teams conduct their inspection, they record any signs of wear and tear on “gig sheets.” Afterwards comes the “fix phase” in which they repair every issue they found during the inspection. Finally, they conduct an operational check, testing every part of the jet to make sure it is ready to go back to the flight line.


One thing that makes the workflow easier is the Multi-Capable Airmen program. Tynes has basic training in sheet metal and is qualified to put rivets on jets, create shims, and perform other tasks that would normally be assigned to the Structural Maintenance Section. This takes some of the workload off of those who specialize in sheet metal, who are then able to focus on larger projects. Tynes says this also brings about a greater rapport between the various maintenance sections.


The end result is a fast, yet diligent process with each Airman focusing on his own part of the jet while still working as a well-coordinated team.


“It’s almost like an assembly line, except it’s one without any predictability, because as soon as you open up the can of worms with tearing panels off the jets, who knows what you will find?” Master Sgt. Carlos Encarnacion, Phase Section Chief says.  “They’re quick to adapt and attack those problems and still kick them out in a timely manner. They rock when it comes to having a jet in here.”