AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, stretches out the duct of a new generation heater during an inspection at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 23, 2018. The AGE flight’s inspection team focuses on the preventative maintenance of the 721 pieces, valued at $40 million, assigned to them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman River Bruce)

AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, inspects the burner exhaust of a new generation heater at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 23, 2018. NGH provide heat for a variety of different Airmen on base including security forces defenders and flightline personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman River Bruce)

AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Sanders, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, hammers on a 60 ton jack in efforts to remove the housing assembly during a troubleshooting inspection at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 23, 2018. The jack helps lift aircraft so personnel can perform maintenance on landing gear. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman River Bruce)

AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Sanders, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, troubleshoots the gages on a munitions jammer at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 23, 2018. Dyess’ AGE flight performs maintenance on jammers to ensure they can meet their capacity load weight of 7000 pounds of munitions at a time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman River Bruce)

AGE: Lifeline of the flightline

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, pulls on the recoil starter of a new generation heater at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 23, 2018. Johnson performs operation inspections on these heaters to prevent future maintenance problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman River Bruce)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

The shop rattles with the sounds of ratchets turning, hammers banging and engines running. Sweat covers foreheads and oil dries on the hands of Airmen. A constant flow of tasks are handed down with one overall goal, getting aircraft off the ground and into the wild blue.

The 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, provides equipment maintenance on and off aircraft. The Aerospace Ground Equipment flight specializes in providing the flightline with equipment that ensures our aircraft can feed the fight and kill targets.

AGE technicians work with the mindset of the flightline being their customer. Armament technicians, who operate the jammers that load bombs, and aircraft crew chiefs, who need external power sources and cooling units to troubleshoot aircraft, can’t do their jobs without the maintenance of these pieces of machinery.

“We do our best to support our customers on the flightline because the mission needs both of us,” said 2nd Lt. Heather McNatt, 7th EMS AGE officer in charge.

Senior Master Sgt. Roberto Garza, 7th EMS AGE flight chief, said that without AGE Airmen working together to give the flightline what it needs, we would never hear that roaring take-off sound.

There are three teams at the AGE flight that ensure 721 pieces of machinery, valued at $40 million, stay in a mission ready state.  The inspection team focuses on the preventive maintenance of those pieces by conducting scheduled inspections. The maintenance team receives damaged and broken pieces and works quickly and safely as possible to get them back on the line. They also have a team that specializes in the maintenance of munition trailers.  

“On the inspection side, we don’t believe in waiting until we see a problem to fix it,” said Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson, 7th EMS AGE inspection team technician. “With our inspections we often prevent equipment malfunctions by noticing a potential problem before it occurs.”

Johnson said that when they discover a malfunction during an inspection they’ll either fix the issue themselves or send the piece to the maintenance team to troubleshoot and repair the specific problem.

Senior Airman Tyler Sanders, 7th EMS AGE maintenance team technician said, “Every day is a different priority for the maintenance team. It could be working on jammers, generators or aircraft jacks but no matter what we’re ready to go when something needs repairs. We won’t leave work until the flightline has what it needs.”

This unit supports two wings and two airframes, the 7th Bomb Wing’s B-1B Lancer and 317th Airlift Wing’s C-130J Super Hercules.

“We take pride in supporting both wings,” Garza said. “We send our Airmen with both of those aircraft every time they deploy. When you put our equipment and people together, we have the largest AGE unit in all of Air Force Global Strike Command and we need every bit of that size for what’s required of us.”

Garza said they’re one of the few AGE flights in the Air Force that support two separate wings.

“When it comes down to it, we are the lifeline of the flightline because bombs can’t get loaded and aircraft can’t get into the air without the equipment we work on,” said Senior Airman Michaelene Tulba, 7th EMS AGE training monitor.

This AGE flight recognizes, accepts, and takes pride in their role in the mission, which is providing daily support to Team Dyess’ flightline personnel. This is one of many examples of how Airmen work together to get the job done.