Air Force

June 28, 2012

D-M’s ‘Bone Yard’ more than just storage for military aircraft

Tags:
David S. Ricker
Staff Writer

The maintenance crew with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group works on rebuilding a C-130 here Dec. 9, 2011. The C-130 was completely gutted and sent to AMARG where the crew is working to rebuild the plane with new plane with new parts.

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, known as the “Bone Yard,” is the resting place for retired military aircraft and the reusable parts that keep the military aviation branches flying.

Since the end of World War II, the Department of Defense has utilized 2,600 acres on the east side of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to store more than 4,400 aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles from the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Coast Guard, and other federal agencies including NASA.

“We are the executive agent on behalf of the Department of Defense for the storage, reclamation and preservation of aircraft,” said Col. Patrick T. Kumashiro, commander of the 309 AMARG. “Those environmental conditions are ideal for our long term storage of aircraft.”

It’s estimated that the aircraft stored at The Boneyard have an original purchase price of more than $35 billion. “Over a period of time we will reclaim parts from those aircraft and put those parts back into the DOD supply chain,” Kumashiro said.

Rory “Buzz” Busby is working to refurbish a tail wing assembly from an F-4 Phantom being readied for use as a target drone.

Kumashiro suggested that the aircraft stored at 309 AMARG provide the military unique savings that allows military units throughout the world to withdraw parts and aircraft. “Every year, we reclaim about a half-billion dollars worth of parts,” he said. “The taxpayers get a tremendous return on their investment with the reclamation of these parts.”

Kumashiro said the 309 AMARG staff members are dedicated and very good at their jobs. “Our folks have come out on holidays, when the weather is miserable because they know how important that part is,” he said. “Four thousand of those parts have directly contributed to flying aircraft. That aircraft couldn’t fly without our part.”

Of course, finding a special part needed for the military supply chain can be a chore. “We don’t have this huge database that says this is where you find it,” Kumashiro explained. “Sometimes we have to go from aircraft to aircraft.”

Kumashiro pointed out that in some cases, the parts that are reclaimed from aircraft are no longer being manufactured. “All of the services fly legacy aircraft for 40-plus years, so those suppliers no longer exist,” he said. “We are relying on AMARG as a source of supply.”

In the coming year, some F-16 Fighting Falcons will be regenerated and set up as unmanned target drones. There are T-37s and C-130s also being regenerated for export. “We have a very robust foreign military sales program,” Kumashiro said. “We have the ability to regenerate aircraft that are stored here for foreign military sales, for our own military services. In fact, you will see F-4s that are flying today. They have been retired for well over 20 years and after we regenerate those there is a contractor that installs a software package that allows those jets to be flown unmanned so they can be used as targets.”

The 309 AMARG also participates in the depot repair overflow program. “In the past, we may not have had the necessary capacity at out depots,” Kumashiro said. “We will take C-130s and A-10s and completely do depot repairs for those aircraft.”

That activity is starting to draw down. “That has been a pretty dynamic mission for us over the last couple of years,” Kumashiro pointed out.

Currently AMARG is supporting an avionics mod for 250 A-10s over the next three years. “It’s very easy to tow those A-10s from the fighter wing over here,” Kumashiro added. “There are tremendous cost savings by doing that.”

There are a number of alumni military associations that are hosted at 309 AMARG each year. “Every aircraft, every tail number has a story,” Kumashiro said.

Kumashiro’s father retired from the Air Force and has a close friend who flew WB-57s. “He hadn’t seen one since 1969. When he came to visit he started to cry,” Kumashiro recalled. “It was pretty neat to see that reaction.”

Maintenance personnel install a new wing on the A-10 assigned to the commander of the 355th Fighter Wing.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

The new fight: Writing cyber into the science of war

Every year, the Aspen Security Forum brings together the top minds in defense, intelligence and homeland security. This year, more than ever, the conversation is turning to cybersecurity – protecting computer networks and everything attached to them. Cyber is constantly changing the way conflicts and combat unfold. Here, former U.S. Navy Rear Adm. William Leigher offers insights...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo)

Need help? Trust your ‘Shirt’

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona — When young Airmen need help or are looking for guidance, a good place to start is with a senior NCO. Making it into the top 3 percent in the U.S. Air Force is a major accomplishment. Alt...
 
 

Local Briefs July 31, 2015

Sunset Horseback Ride August 8, 4 – 8 p.m. – Outdoor Rec Saddle up and enjoy a 2-hour sunset horseback ride through the Saguaro National Park.. Final deadline for sign-ups is July 31. Minimum age: 18. Cost of $25/person. Call 228-3736 for more information. White water rafting and camping Aug. 20 – 24 – Grand...
 

 
(Courtesy Photo)

A Q&A with Master Sgt. Jaime Lewis

The men and women of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) welcomed a new First Sgt. in May. Master Sgt. Jaime M. Lewis, began his career in 2000 as an Aerial Porter, where he performed duties such as passenger services, car...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen)

Relationship building by means of the F-16

  America’s stars and stripes and Arizona’s lone copper star always wave proudly at the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing. But it’s the adjacent flags of coalition-partners – from the pacific island-nat...
 
 

Military life: Separated, but not alone

  MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about is how am I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>