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455th EAMXS keeps Bagram in flight

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Tyrona Lawson
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
It’s the kind of weather that makes you happy if you are able to complete your mission in doors under the cool air of an air conditioning unit.

Its 100 degrees, the sun is blazing and a group of 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen are enduring the heat as they repair a C-130 aircraft.

Sweat creating a camouflage pattern on their t-shirts and dripping from their faces, the Airmen are in a steady rhythm of communication as they pass tools with their soot-rinsed hands.

Smiles on every face as inside jokes are passed around, it is clear; this group is a band of brothers.

“It is vital that we maintain a good relationship with the other members of our squadron,” said Senior Airman William Willmann, 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “Not only will we cohere better as a unit and execute the mission more effectively, but we can also rely on each other for support.”

The awe of an aircraft soaring in the clear blue sky is usually attested to the keen skill of the pilot, but before the pilot, comes the maintenance crews.

The crews are the driving force to maintaining air power.

“Electrical and environmental specialists deal with many mission-essential systems that keep aircrew safe,” said Willman. “We maintain electric components that supply power to virtually every system on the aircraft and ensure the pilots have breathable oxygen, the airplane is adequately pressurized and the systems that detect fire and smoke are functioning correctly.”

Recently Airmen from the 455th EAMXS replaced an engine that was damaged due to heavy debris but this job has put forth some interesting repair needs for the crew.

“We once had a bird hit the leading edge of the left wing and completely demolish everything inside,” Said Willmann. “It punctured a hole in the panel, tore up wires for the taxi light, landing light, and the anti-ice valve, and dented the bleed air manifold. Needless to say, that plane required a lot of repair and was grounded for about five days.”

It would be fair to say that most people wouldn’t know what a dynamometer or a beta tube spanner wrench are, but next time you see an Air Force aircraft in the blue horizon, you can be sure that it took a dedicated team to get it there and that Airmen like those of the 455th EAMXS are to thank.

“The best part about my job is seeing an aircraft, which was previously grounded, taxi onto the runway because me and my fellow maintainers troubleshot and repaired it,” said Willman. “I take pride in knowing that our efforts generated a safe and mission-capable aircraft.”