8th MXS: Always busy so Kunsan's always ready
KUNSAN AIR BASE - The 8th Maintenance Squadron does a lot - to say the least. One day of driving around on the flight line observing these Airmen in action would make anyone's head spin.
These Airmen work 24/7 operations year-round to ensure aircraft, people and equipment are combat ready.
They also work to ensure airworthiness, safety, and to generate and sustain combat airpower. All of this and more is accomplished by the biggest squadron on base, with approximately 500 Airmen assigned to the maintenance squadron.
So why is the 8th MXS so important? Simply put - if aircraft can't fly, the Wolf Pack can't take the fight North .
While maintenance in and of itself is viewed by many as a taxing job, this small yet busy world of aircraft preservation encounters challenges other career fields may not.
"A typical day for a maintainer includes working long hours outside all day, in both the extreme heat and cold temperatures," said Capt. Robert Leidel, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. "Availability of parts, manning, aging equipment and older aircraft are also some of the challenges we face. Many of the air conditioning units and equipment we use every day were built more than four decades ago."
And if that isn't enough to deal with, consider the fact that Kunsan Air Base's operations tempo is among one of the highest in the Air Force.
"During the Operational Readiness Exercises, maintenance starts working three days before the exercise even officially kicks off," said the OIC. "We start early in preparation for our generation test, which normally occurs on the first day of the exercise. Also, while the rest of the base gets off work at the end of the exercise, maintainers are at work well into the night and oftentimes the following day trying to recover from the intensive flying that ensues during an exercise."
The 8th MXS is comprised of eight flights, each responsible for a different area of aircraft maintenance.
Included are the ammunition flight, maintenance flight, fabrication flight, accessories flight, test measurement diagnostic equipment flight, avionics flight, aerospace ground equipment flight, and finally the armament flight.
Because of this extensive list of flights and all that each is responsible for, this article is merely an introduction to the world of Wolf Pack maintenance. Stay tuned for the next article in this series highlighting the aerospace ground equipment flight.
[This article is the first of a series covering the Wolf Pack 8th Maintenance Squadron team members and how they support the overall mission of the 8th Fighter Wing.]