Through every key military scene on the stage of American history following World War II up to present day, American airpower has played a leading role.
During its 70 year history, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., has directly enabled the nation to respond to crisis.
Although the name has changed over the years, the organization has continued achieving its mission elements: aircraft storage and preservation, reclaiming and returning vital parts into the supply chain, regenerating valuable aircraft to flying service, and providing limited depot maintenance and modifications.
AMARG is world-renowned as the Boneyard, a place where old military aircraft are stored and parts reclaimed. Although Boneyard is a catchy, memorable nickname, it does not begin to paint a full picture of the awesome spectrum of capability AMARG actually provides — and has provided throughout its 70-year history.
During his anniversary celebration remarks, Brig. Gen. Steven J. Bleymaier, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander at Hill AFB, Utah, (AMARG’s direct reporting headquarters) stated, “Many people do not realize that AMARG is a key force multiplier for the Department of Defense. At this very moment, AMARG is enabling the nation to fight terrorism, conduct humanitarian relief, fight forest fires, conduct drug interdiction and defend the nation.”
Bleymaier continued, “Today AMARG is supporting the Coast Guard with updated C-27J Spartan aircraft for search and rescue missions and the U.S. Forest Service with C-23 Sherpas to aid in fighting wildfires. It is providing the Philippines with natural disaster relief capability in the form of KC-130T Hercules aircraft, it regenerated a B-52 bomber for Global Strike Command after seven years of storage, and it is supporting the warfighter by delivering the first of seven C-130 outer wing sets that will be used by production lines at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and Ogden Air Logistics Complex, ahead of schedule.”
309th AMARG deputy director Timothy Gray stated, “Additionally AMARG supports many Air Force Research Laboratory projects to extend the service life of KC-135s and B-52s, and it supports the National Museum of the United States Air Force and private museums all over the nation to preserve America’s aviation history.”
From its inception in April 1946, whether returning C-47 Skytrain cargo planes to service for the Berlin Airlift, delivering B-29 Superfortress bombers and critical spares to the warfighters in Korea, or putting B-47 Stratojet bombers on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis, AMARG has been the “go-to” warrior’s wingman to rapidly project American airpower around the globe.
AMARG returned aircraft such as the C-47 and A-1 Skyraiders to the battlefield in Vietnam and vital F-4, F-15, F-16, A-10, C-141 and F-111 assets to the Persian Gulf when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
For 14 years during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, American air planners turned to this national-level airpower reservoir for the essential spares and aircraft needed to attain the stable battle rhythm to achieve the mission.
For the past 40 years, AMARG has supported American air warriors with a series of full-scale aerial targets. Beginning in the 1970s with obsolete but plentiful fighter planes, AMARG has withdrawn F-102s, F-100s, F-106s and F-4s from storage and returned to flight nearly 1,000 aircraft whose maneuverability and speed permit American Airmen to hone their skills in air-to-air combat. AMARG is currently in full production regenerating QF-16s in support of this program.
On the ground, AMARG’s workers have advanced American diplomacy, dismantling hundreds of Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in compliance with a treaty to rid the world of an entire class of weapons. Likewise, they dismantled aging bombers in compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
“AMARG’s 600-plus member workforce has adopted the Air Force Sustainment Center Way — a method of operations management and process improvement — in projects they undertake” said Bleymaier. “They are truly a key player in the greater enterprise of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, the Air Force Sustainment Center and the United States Air Force.”
The AFSC-Way methodology is utilized across a network of 21 locations world-wide that make up the Air Force Sustainment Center. AFSC is the Logistics Numbered Air Force for the USAF, chartered with ensuring mission-readiness to combatant commanders. The AFSC-Way has provided a play-book greatly leveraging individual capabilities at each location into an exponentially greater force multiplier.
As DOD continues to adjust to national security threats and fiscal realities, AMARG will remain a key force enabler, allowing the United States to rapidly adjust to the global environment and provide world-class aircraft maintenance and logistics support as part of the larger Air Force Sustainment Center Enterprise that supports the DOD and other Government agencies — truly a National-level Air Power Reservoir.