EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla --
On Sept. 1, the 325th Fighter Wing held a ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to stand-down the 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and stand-up the 43rd Fighter Generation Squadron as part of an Air Combat Command wing reorganization effort.
The new structure, called Combat Oriented Maintenance Organization, or COMO, allows an aircraft maintenance squadron to be paired with a fighter squadron to work collaboratively while at home station and during deployments.
Maj. Joshua Paluch, took command of the 43rd FGS after relinquishing command of the 325th AMXS.
“Synchronizing the missions of operations and maintenance aligns all Airmen to a single purpose,” said Paluch. “Many aircraft maintenance squadrons have multiple fighter squadrons, and by appropriately scoping the mission of the fighter generation squadron it’s easier to acquire resources and quantify impacts to the mission.”
The COMO structure is part of a broader force presentation model ACC is building to better organize, train and equip combat air forces. The 325th Fighter Wing is one of several who have already begun to make these organizational efforts to include the 20th FW at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and the 388th FW at Hill AFB, Utah.
Peter Coffman, the 325th FW historian, explained that while this is a historical event, something similar was attempted in the early 90’s.
“The previous version [of a squadron restructure] required the operations squadron commander to assume command and control of both the aircraft maintenance unit and the operations squadron,” said Coffman. “The limitations of this previous configuration were quickly revealed as operations officers, who were not specifically trained in the maintenance management discipline, focused primarily on the desire of operations to the detriment of maintenance needs.”
However, the 43rd FGS will be a capable maintenance unit with a fully staffed command and support staff that can better focus on unit readiness, training, exercises and deployments.
“Establishing the FGS units will provide the war planners and the war fighters with a clearer picture of a unit’s capabilities and wartime status, to include unit personnel, equipment, and any deficiencies or needs by mirroring the deployed unit structure at home station,” said Coffman. “This allows our maintenance units to better support the Agile Combat Employment strategies by training our forces like we fight.”