NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - Airmen from the 23d Maintenance Group capitalized on an opportunity to prepare for future deployments during a two-week training exercise, Jan. 13-27, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Green Flag-West 17-03, an air-land integration combat training exercise, hosted 12 A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft from Moody Air Force Base, and in support, more than 130 personnel from the 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 23d Component Maintenance Squadron and 23d Equipment Maintenance Squadron.
“Green Flag gives us maintenance folks an opportunity to work together and mold as a team,” said Master Sgt. Chad Everett, 74th AMU production superintendent. “We’re going to be the ones deploying together, so this exercise lets us learn how each person works so we can hit the ground running when we get downrange.”
During the exercise, the 74th AMU consistently launched 18 sorties per day with minimal turnaround time, which emphasized the importance of teamwork within the unit.
“The high-speed tempo is 24 hours a day, seven days a week when we’re downrange, and this exercise simulates that workload,” Everett said. “Our operations here are the same. This gives us a good idea of how to schedule our airplanes for routine maintenance while still loading bullets and bombs … it all has to work together to execute the mission whether we’re here at Nellis, downrange, or home at Moody.”
Particularly affected by the tempo are airmen who have never deployed, such as Airman Deonte Black, a crew chief with the 74th AMU.
“The tempo is ridiculous,” said Black. “At home it’s pretty fast, but out here, as soon as you're done with post-flight inspections the pilots are back and the jets are going back up.
“This exercise is just more repetitions at a fast tempo,” Black continued, “so when we’re downrange and have to get rid of bad guys, we’re already used to working together to get stuff done to get jets up quickly. Here its a ‘war-time’ exercise situation, so we have to be ready at a moments notice.”
Keeping the aircraft mission-ready for two-weeks straight is no small task, Everett says.
“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication from these Airman and NCOs out on the flightline,” said Everett. “They're out here in the elements inspecting the jets, fixing the problems that come up, and getting them back in the air.
“Without us out here, 110 percent, these airplanes are just lethal paperweights sitting on the ground,” Everett said. “These men and women are the ones that make the mission happen. It’s not about one section, its about integrating into the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to employ the worlds greatest airpower, and showing the bad guys downrange what the 74th thunder will bring them.”