39th MXS aids tenant unit with maintenance mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman William A. O'Brien
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Despite having no aircraft permanently assigned to Incirlik, many still pass through on their way to several key locations across the globe. When aircraft are here, the 39th Maintenance Squadron provides aerospace ground equipment and aircraft maintenance support for them.

"For the transit aircraft that come through Incirlik, we do all the back shop maintenance," said Capt. Lupe Gutierrez, 39th MXS maintenance officer. "We usually get between 120 to 185 aircraft that come through here per month."

The 39th MXS works as a support shop for the 728th Air Mobility Squadron's maintainers and is responsible for welding and sheet metal fixes, directing aircraft to where it will be parked, crash response capabilities, and providing lighting and generators.

"We're not a maintenance group, we're a maintenance squadron; so we don't have squadrons under a group. We have one squadron, and we support transient aircraft. Under our squadron we have (aerospace ground equipment), which provides electrical power, light and things of that nature to the aircraft. Then with our back shop capabilities, we are much like any other base's maintenance squadron," said Chief Master Sgt. James Johns, 39th MXS superintendant.

Working a set 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule, the metal maintenance section works with the AGE flight to assist them with any metal fabrication repairs they need for their equipment.
"We mainly support the AGE (flight's) equipment here at Incirlik. When AGE does inspections on their equipment, if it's cracked or broken, we'll repair it and bring it back to a serviceable condition," said Tech. Sgt. Roy Fife, 39th MXS metals technology craftsman. "Without us, when AGE's equipment or an aircraft needs metal work done, the equipment would have to be sent downtown, putting it out of operation for an extended period of time and costing a lot of money."

If structural damage happens to the aircraft on the way to Incirlik, metal maintenance keeps Airmen on call around the clock to make fixes as necessary.

"If any transient aircraft comes in and breaks, they call on us for any type of structural damage," said Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Souza, 39th MXS metal maintenance section chief. "Here, we're not needed too frequently; but when they need us, we're essential to getting that plane back up in the air."

Although aircraft incidents are uncommon, a base's crash recovery team is trained to respond to any type of incident scenario for the aircraft assigned to that specific base; but here, because a variety of aircraft from numerous countries utilize Incirlik's airfield, the team must be flexible.

"We're in a strange situation as far as CR is concerned," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Walters, 39th MXS TA crash recovery section chief. "At my last base, we had C-130s assigned, so our crash recovery team would get fully qualified on how to recover that C-130. With us not having any aircraft assigned here, we don't have a specific airframe we are 100 percent qualified on to recover. We have to rely on homestations to provide us with information if something were to happen.

"As crash recovery, it is up to us to recover an aircraft in the event of an incident. Whether the aircraft has crash landed or is disabled on the runway, our primary goal is to clear the runway without further damage to the aircraft or the airfield," said Walters.

The transient alert team meets the aircraft and leads it to a designated parking area. Planning the parking arrangement of the aircraft ensures it is parked in a spot where it isn't trapped and it can get out for takeoff when the time comes for it to depart.

"Transient alert is the first thing the pilots see when they come in. They've already talked to the tower, but we bring them into parking. We are a liaison for anything they need, anything from parts and supplies to fuel or anything else for the aircraft," said Walters.

Once a plane has landed and been directed to its parking area, equipment from the AGE flight is brought out to support the maintainers.

AGE provides electrical power, light and other types of equipment to the transient aircraft as they pass through. To ensure this equipment is operable when needed, each piece is checked every six months, year or two years depending on the type of equipment.

"We support and deliver all the equipment to the aircraft out on the flightline. Any equipment that requires repairs, we repair it," said Tech. Sgt. Phillip Brown, 39th MXS AGE flight NCO in charge. "We have a production control center, and they prepare all of the technical orders and all the items such as gauges that might go on to the equipment."

When equipment isn't working properly or is due for an inspection, it is brought in to be fixed by AGE technicians.

"We maintain all the generators, stands and (lights) that support the base," said Staff Sgt. Clifton Hollonquest, 39th MXS AGE craftsman. The generators they maintain "power every aircraft that comes through. Some of our air conditioners are used by buildings when their heating and air goes down. If someone's going to work on a plane after it lands (at night), they'll use our (lights) but if not they'll still need a generator from us."

"We get into some in depth troubleshooting things, and we do basic repairs," added Brown. "We do everything from stripping down a wheel bearing to calibrating the schematic parts like tachometers and things of that nature."

Between inspections, operable equipment is kept on the flightline with AGE dispatch drivers, ready to be put to use.

"We have a ready line of everything used on the flightline, waiting on the flightline already. Then when a request comes in for equipment, we communicate through radios and our dispatch will drop it off to the crew chiefs who requested it," said Brown.

Although the primary maintenance mission falls on the 728th AMS, it is up to the 39th MXS to provide them with the support they need to keep the planes moving downrange.

"There's no air power without ground power," said Brown. "All the equipment we provide supports the aircraft and enables it to fly."