How do you get a plane that weighs more than 100,000 pounds to get off the ground and keep flying? The 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here has been doing just that.
The unit’s mission is to provide a safe, reliable, mission capable EC-130H Compass Call aircraft to the 55th Electronic Combat Group for training and executing electronic warfare. The 755thAMXS, a unit owned by the 55th Fighter Wing out of Offutt AFB, Neb., spends hours at a time fixing these planes to ensure they can accomplish their mission.
Compass Call is an airborne tactical weapon system that uses a heavily modified version of the C-130 Hercules airframe. The system disrupts enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. In simple terms, the aircraft jams enemy radio signals.
In the flight of 14, there are currently four aircraft deployed, four are at home, and the rest are undergoing regular inspections.
“There are only 14 planes in the whole word that do this,” said Airman 1st Class Daniel J. Boutwell, 755th AMXS electronic warfare technician. “All of these are assigned to D-M.”
The 755th AMXS is the longest deployed unit in the Air Force, supporting deployed missions for more than nine years. Airmen deploy for approximately five months at a time.
Certain crew chiefs are assigned to specific planes and often become attached to their aircraft.
“I love having my name on a plane,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Williams, 755th AMXS crew chief. “My plane is deployed right now and I miss seeing my name on that plane.”
As a staff sergeant, Williams has more responsibilities than lower ranking airman. The plane displays his name and a few crew members’ names as well.
There are many different jobs in the 755th AMXS. One of the big ones is a crew chief. A crew chief’s main duties include taxiing the plane for take-off and landing, as well as refueling. They also work on the plane to take apart what is broken and put it back together.
The biggest difference between a C-130H aircraft and the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft is that the EC-130H aircraft has multiple computers. Because of this, there are specific people who work on these computers. They maintain all subsystems in the back end of the EC-130H aircraft to make sure that operators have an aircraft that is going to fulfill mission requirements.
“The temperature of the plane must be less than 81 degrees Fahrenheit,” said Boutwell. “If the plane is too hot, then the computer network will burn up.”
The planes computer systems make up an essential part of this plane’s mission, which has helped this squadron to achieve many awards throughout the years.
There is a quote on a wall at the 755th AMXS that reads “Through these halls walk the world’s best maintainers.” With constant deployment and all the hard work that goes into maintaining a 40-year-old aircraft, this squadron works hard to prove that this statement is true.