PACAF maintainers keep A-10 airborne

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Arrec Chetwood tightens a screw on the wing of an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft conducted a mission in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal providing transparent air and maritime situational awareness April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Chetwood, who is deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, is part of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, which was stood up at the invitation of the Philippine government in order to build upon the relationship with Philippine counterparts, and lay the foundation for joint air patrols to complement ongoing joint maritime patrols. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Arrec Chetwood tightens a screw on the wing of an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft conducted a mission in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal providing transparent air and maritime situational awareness April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. Chetwood, who is deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, is part of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, which was stood up at the invitation of the Philippine government in order to build upon the relationship with Philippine counterparts, and lay the foundation for joint air patrols to complement ongoing joint maritime patrols. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Rentschler, A-10 Thunderbolt II crew chief, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Defino, aerospace propulsion technician, both deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, check the engine of an A-10C after the aircraft completed maritime domain awareness mission over the waters west of the Philippines April 21, 2016. The aircraft and Airmen are deployed in support of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, which was stood up at the invitation of the Philippine government in order to promote interoperability, build upon the relationship with our Philippine counterparts, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Rentschler, A-10 Thunderbolt II crew chief, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Defino, aerospace propulsion technician, both deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, check the engine of an A-10C after the aircraft completed maritime domain awareness mission over the waters west of the Philippines April 21, 2016. The aircraft and Airmen are deployed in support of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, which was stood up at the invitation of the Philippine government in order to promote interoperability, build upon the relationship with our Philippine counterparts, and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Whetham, weapons load crew chief, and Senior Airman Jonathan Simmons, weapons load crew member, inspect a training round from an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft completed a maritime domain awareness mission in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal west of the Philippines April 21, 2016. These missions are intended to provide more transparent air and maritime situational awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters and airspace, and as such, the aircraft do not carry live rounds. Whetham and Simmons are deployed to Clark Air Base, Philippines from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Whetham, weapons load crew chief, and Senior Airman Jonathan Simmons, weapons load crew member, inspect a training round from an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft completed a maritime domain awareness mission in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal west of the Philippines April 21, 2016. These missions are intended to provide more transparent air and maritime situational awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters and airspace, and as such, the aircraft do not carry live rounds. Whetham and Simmons are deployed to Clark Air Base, Philippines from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Peter Espinoza, A-10C Thunderbolt II crew chief, deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, goes through a checklist for an A-10C after the aircraft conducted an air and maritime domain awareness mission intended to provide more transparent air and maritime situational awareness ensuring safety for military and civilian activities in international waters April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The aircraft’s parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers, thus the aircrew and maintainers can deploy with minimal equipment and still ensure the jets are ready to fly at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Peter Espinoza, A-10C Thunderbolt II crew chief, deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, goes through a checklist for an A-10C after the aircraft conducted an air and maritime domain awareness mission intended to provide more transparent air and maritime situational awareness ensuring safety for military and civilian activities in international waters April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The aircraft’s parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers, thus the aircrew and maintainers can deploy with minimal equipment and still ensure the jets are ready to fly at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Simmons, a weapons load crew member deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, inspects an A-10C Thunderbolt II prior to the aircraft’s takeoff April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The aircraft and Airmen are deployed in support of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, designed to promote interoperability and provide greater and more transparent air and maritime situational awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Simmons, a weapons load crew member deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, inspects an A-10C Thunderbolt II prior to the aircraft’s takeoff April 21, 2016, at Clark Air Base, Philippines. The aircraft and Airmen are deployed in support of the first iteration of U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent, designed to promote interoperability and provide greater and more transparent air and maritime situational awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Rister, an avionics technician deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, unscrews a panel on an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft completed a mission flying in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal April 21, 2016. The aircraft can be serviced and operated from bases with varied facilities, additionally; many of its parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers. These unique aspects of the aircraft allow the aircrew and maintainers to deploy with minimal equipment and still ensure the jets are ready to fly missions out of Clark AB at a moment’s notice, exercising the rights of freedom of navigation in international waters and international airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Rister, an avionics technician deployed from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, unscrews a panel on an A-10C Thunderbolt II after the aircraft completed a mission flying in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal April 21, 2016. The aircraft can be serviced and operated from bases with varied facilities, additionally; many of its parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers. These unique aspects of the aircraft allow the aircrew and maintainers to deploy with minimal equipment and still ensure the jets are ready to fly missions out of Clark AB at a moment’s notice, exercising the rights of freedom of navigation in international waters and international airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington)

CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines --


The U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent here requires its A-10C Thunderbolt IIs to be prepared for any situation, and maintenance personnel play a critical role in adapting to a new environment and launching aircraft at a nearly perfect rate.

“Every day our Airmen are out here are getting these aircraft 100 percent mission ready making sure they are capable of answering the call and executing the mission 24/7,” said Master Sgt. Chad Everett, the 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit production superintendent, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, from Springdale, Arkansas. "Being here at Clark AB is really about projecting PACOM’s presence and accomplishing the mission when called upon." 

The Air Contingent was stood up at the invitation of the Philippine government, utilizing the Airmen and aircraft that were already in place at the conclusion of Balikatan. As such, the maintainers and crew were already familiar with operating in and around Clark AB, and were able to continue to foster the working relationships built with Philippine partners during the exercise. The presence of the A-10C and personnel here, and their combined ability to launch missions providing transparent air and maritime situational awareness, underscore the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“This PACOM presence would not be possible without maintainers here providing mission-ready aircraft for the pilots to go out and execute the mission,” Everett said. “The Air Contingent is depending on our maintenance unit to provide jets that can fly those sorties and be able to project that presence throughout the region." 
 
"Without maintenance, these aircraft will not fly,” Everett added.

Maintenance specialists verify that every component of this high performance aircraft is maintained to the most exacting standards. This mission focus requires maintenance professionals from a range of career fields, including crew chiefs, avionics, propulsion, fuels, ammo, and many more, to come together with one succinct focus. Staff Sgt. Arrec Chetwood, a 25th Aircraft Maintenance Unit A-10 crew chief from San Antonio, Texas, explains how they’re pulling it off, every day.

“For us it’s all about building up a team and accomplishing every job, every mission, in a real way,” he said.

Chetwood said that a benefit of operating with the A-10C is that many of its parts are interchangeable left and right, including the engines, main landing gear and vertical stabilizers. Avionics equipment includes multi-band communications; Global Positioning System and inertial navigations systems; infrared and electronic countermeasures; and, a heads-up display to display flight information. 

"We’re here to get the job done safe and as quick as possible while maintaining unit morale and camaraderie—it’s challenging, but we’re doing it while supporting PACAF’s commitment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” Chetwood said.

“The Air Contingent’s aircraft are only as good as the Airmen who maintain and fly them,” said Col. Larry Card, Commander of the Air Contingent.

"We definitely came together to ensure these aircraft are mission-ready even if we need to work 14-hour shifts,” said Chetwood. “The long hours puts a lot of strain on all these Airmen getting the job done, but we’re doing it, day in and day out and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to the mission."