Maintenance enables Stealth Guardian execution
By Staff Sgt. Callaghan, 23d Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 10, 2017
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
It’s 90 degrees, with barely a cloud in the sky to block the Florida sun. On the Tyndall Air Force Base flightline, they say its feels more like 110.
The only relief from the blistering heat is shade cast by the helicopter, but for the maintainers of the 41st Helicopter Maintenance Unit, there’s work to be done.
These maintainers provide crucial support during Exercise Stealth Guardian; they are responsible for ensuring the aircraft are ready and safe to fly during the five-day exercise, Aug. 7-11.
“We’re here to maintain our aircraft and make sure the mission can happen,” said Tech. Sgt. Joesph Busque, 41st HMU production expeditor. “On top of that, being here makes us more cohesive as a team, and helps the new guys learn the mission they’re supporting. Supporting an exercise like this is beneficial for us too.”
Stealth Guardian demonstrates the Air Force’s ability to rapidly deploy combat forces at a moment’s notice, a task which takes an adept, cohesive maintenance team.
“Maintenance worked extremely hard to get our aircraft ready to go all the way up to the departure,” said Capt Robert Smith, 41st RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk Instructor Pilot. “They are crucial to turning aircraft between flights.
“A good example of that was during a startup; a tire went flat and they were able to replace the tire immediately. This allowed us to still salvage the training because of the work they did to get the aircraft in the air.”
It is exercises like these that give rescue maintainers an opportunity to work in an unfamiliar environment, allowing them to be better prepared for future combat deployments.
Despite the heat and the challenges of being away from home, the 41st HMU is wholeheartedly committed to getting the job done.
“Our maintainers do whatever they can,” Busque said. “A little heat is nothing they can’t handle.”