AGE flight keeps planes flying
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As critical as the mission is for the Wolf Pack to maintain air superiority, it's also important for the 8th Maintenance Squadron's Aerospace Ground Equipment flight to ensure equipment is ready to support daily maintenance operations that keep aircraft flying.
While F-16 Fighting Falcons take the fight north, the AGE flight maintains more than 600 pieces of equipment across the base—valued at $15 million.
“Without ground power, there is no air power,” said Tech. Sgt. Garret Brown, 8th MXS AGE production support section chief. “If an aircraft is broken, AGE is utilized to fix it. Without us, sorties can’t take place.”
To ensure aircraft can fly sorties, the AGE flight maintains equipment that tests, services and troubleshoots aircraft systems while the aircraft is on the ground.
“In a war time emergency, we play a part in making sure jets are able to fly immediately,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Appenzella, 8th MXS AGE journeyman. “That’s why it’s important for us to supply equipment on time or early.”
Being able to provide equipment, such as generators, hydraulic systems and other items to troubleshoot aircraft are among many other items the AGE flight is responsible for.
“We do a lot of work to keep the Wolf Pack’s mission aloft,” Brown said. “As the subject matter experts, if there are any questions about any of these items, we’re the ones to go to.”
Being the subject matter experts of AGE requires the flight to have a variety of components inside of the shop. A few sections of the flight include service inspections, production support and supply, among many others. If these sections don’t do their jobs, it could negatively impact the mission.
“One of the things we work on is the bomb lift that loads munitions into the aircraft,” Brown said. “A bomb is very explosive and can cause a lot of damage to a lot of people if it falls down.”
If a wheel on a bomb lift fell off, for example, it could cause problems.
“We need to inspect that wheel to ensure that it’s properly tightened,” Brown said “If the wheel pops off, a 3,000 pound bomb could hit the ground.”
If AGE maintainers aren't able to conduct maintenance and inspections on their equipment, F-16 pilots won't be able to have heavy munitions loaded or even takeoff.
“Knowing that I’m being successful at helping the Wolf Pack take the fight north helps me sleep better at night,” Appenzella said.