PACAF maintainers keep A-10 airborne
By Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
/ Published April 22, 2016
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."