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AGE of ages, Airmen that keep BUFFs Flying

Airman 1st Class Toni Petty and Senior Airman Nicholas Chronister, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment flight, perform a Time Compliance Technical Order on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 13. TCTOs are modifications or updates to equipment to better adhere to safety standards. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua)(RELEASED)

Airman 1st Class Toni Petty and Senior Airman Nicholas Chronister, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment flight, perform a Time Compliance Technical Order on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 13. TCTOs are modifications or updates to equipment to better adhere to safety standards. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua)(RELEASED)

Staff Sgt. Michael Powell, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment flight, rewires a generator on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 14. The AGE flight maintains equipment and tools which keep aircraft operational. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua)(RELEASED)

Staff Sgt. Michael Powell, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment flight, rewires a generator on Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 14. The AGE flight maintains equipment and tools which keep aircraft operational. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua)(RELEASED)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.-- -- Day and night, rain or shine, the engines of the B-52H Stratofortress roar to life, and take to the skies.

Airmen on the ground watch the fruits of their labor takeoff to deliver precision munitions across the globe. They are known as the Knuckle Busters.

The 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment flight controls a total of 675 pieces of equipment spread amongst six different types of machinery worth more than $22 million. From bomb lifts that load munitions and generators to power aircraft, the flight is just one cog in the machine that is 2 MXS.

"We provide the support and equipment that allow aircraft to takeoff and other shops need to do their jobs," said Tech. Sgt. Kenji Brooks, 2 MXS Aerospace Ground Equipment flight NCO in charge of programs. "The equipment we provide is also maintained by us. Anything needing repairs, modifications or checkups is done here in the hangar."

The Knuckle Busters assist aircraft in takeoff procedures, such as spinning up the engines, and checkups as well as post-mission maintenance.

Airmen in the AGE career field attend a six month technical school where they learn to operate and maintain equipment under their control. As a jack of all trades, this flight can cover many aspects of their brother flights, such as hydraulic and electrical systems maintained by the 2 MXS Accessories flight. Although they synergize well with other flights, the AGE crew takes pride in their self-reliance.

"We're able to perform multiple functions, where some flights may need help from others," said Brooks. "We're able to assess and repair hydraulic systems, rewire electrical systems and perform modifications to our equipment without outside help. Because of that, our Airmen are very well-rounded and serve to strengthen their skills as maintainers."

There are 102 Airmen assigned to the AGE flight that cover the many needs of the B-52. Their large workload and busy schedule does not deter their quick turn around and quality work.

"The Airmen I command are phenomenal," said Master Sgt. Jason McCollister, 2 MXS AGE flight chief. "Despite the long hours and constant work flow, my Airmen never fail to get the job done. I'm proud of their ability to work under any circumstance."