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No air power without ground power

By Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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For every hour an aircraft spends in the air, it spends many more on the ground being maintained and equipped to fly into the wild blue yonder.

Growling trailers, humming generators and heavy bomb lifts move across Barksdale's flightline, ready to assist in the takeoff of one of many B-52H Stratofortress bombers. Proper maintenance to these machines is vital to the mission of delivering precision munitions to the battlefield.

"We maintain all the equipment that the flightline needs to get B-52s in the air," said Staff Sgt. Jason Skaradzinski, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment craftsman. "Through us, the flightline is able to function. Our job as maintainers is to allow the rest of the flight to work either by delivering equipment or using equipment to spin up to spin up an engine and power up an aircraft."

With 675 pieces of equipment worth more than $22 million, the small maintenance section is always busy.

"With this many pieces of equipment, we're always gainfully employed," Skaradzinski said. "We have a total of eight Airmen to handle the large responsibility of repairing these machines in a timely manner. It's never easy, but the pay-off is worth the effort."

Each Airman must become a well versed maintainer in order to be able to maintain the complex systems and items in the AGE flight's inventory. To become skilled maintainers, Airmen attend a five month technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

"Technical school covers mostly general knowledge, as the type of equipment used will vary by location," said SrA Michael Custodio, 707th Maintenance Squadron. "The Airmen here learn the ins and outs of every piece of equipment."

"For example, there are two different types of machines to start up the B-52s, whereas a fighter uses the same thing but in an all-in-one format," said Custodio. "Airmen coming from a base with a different airframe must learn how to differentiate the subtle but noticeable differences in equipment that essentially do the same thing."

As AGE Airmen progress in their careers, they learn each machine so well they can troubleshoot problems without having to be physically in front of the equipment.

As the saying goes within the flight "No air power without ground power" the hardworking and dedicated Airmen of the maintenance section strive to get the mission done, despite having less than 10 personnel.

"These Airmen are hardworking and hard charging," said Tech. Sgt. David Davis, 2MXS AGE NCO in charge of maintenance. "The work they do every day to get aircraft in the air showcases the best of the 2 MXS."