Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs —
Similar to the maintenance of a car, the C-17 Globemaster III requires inspections to ensure aircraft safety and reliability for its airlift and air refueling missions. For maintainers in the 305th Maintenance Squadron, this means completing inspections on a 180-day basis to prevent issues downrange.
Fortunately the 305th MXS Airmen worked hand-in-hand with their squadron commander to perform an inspection July 7-10.
“We’re in a unique situation right now,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Wenrick, 305 MXS section chief. “Our commander is a pilot, which is unusual in a maintenance career field. It’s important for him to see what we do. This teaches him a lot more about the maintenance process and the hard work Airmen put into inspections and helps build trust between maintainers and the pilot.”
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Stewart, 305th MXS commander, not only aided the efforts of the Airmen, but by doing so, he went back to his roots as a prior maintainer. Before commissioning, he was a crew chief for the B-52 Stratofortress while stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
“I planned on getting to work and getting my hands dirty,” Stewart said. “My expectations were met. I am proud of the job [the 305th Airmen] do every day and to be a part of this process even on a small scale, allowed me to observe their expertise and passion. I will say that this experience brought me back to when I was a young Cajun Knucklebuster in the 2d MXS in Louisiana.”
After the C-17 has flown 200-500 hours, Airmen complete an inspection through a one-week process of depaneling, lubricating and examining the internal workings of the aircraft.
“I think it’s great the commander wants to work with us and help us complete an inspection,” said Senior Airman Francisco Reyes, 305 MXS crew chief. “He was willing to do anything. He even did the drop down panels, which is one of the hardest things to do because you have to use your upper body strength while [holding up the panel] and taking out all of its screws. Things like this help build rapport.”
Stewart echoed Reyes’ appreciation of the opportunity of working together.
“We had a lot of great conversations and [the Airmen] showed great pride in what they do when instructing me on tasks,” Stewart said. “My career came full circle back to maintenance. The [305th] welcomed me as their own and I will never forget these great Airmen.”