The 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron won the Air Education and Training Command’s Maintenance Effectiveness Award for the small unit category. What makes the squadron so unique is the number of squadrons it supports and the many missions it performs every year.
The 56th AMXS supports the 310th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, the 61st AMU, 62nd AMU, the 425th Fighter Squadron and the 21st FS.
While the 56th AMXS used to support the 61st, 62nd and 63rd fighter squadrons, the 61st and 63rd were deactivated and their jets were moved to another base. In October, the 61st FS and 61st AMU were reactivated to take care of the incoming F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jets. The first F-35s at Luke will be assigned to the 61st FS.
“The fighter squadron’s operations and maintenance units were once joined together in the late 1990s,” said 1st Lt. Christie Taylor, 310th AMU officer in charge. “Once they split, each squadron had an AMU and squadron operations, where their pilots would fly our jets.”
Airmen from the 56th AMXS provide safe, reliable aircraft, equipment and munitions to train the world’s finest F-16 pilots and future F-35 pilots and crew chiefs.
Different maintenance sections such as the production section, which focuses on jet flying schedules and maintenance schedules, fall under each fighter squadron and perform different tasks.
The specialist flight section members work on engines, avionics, electrical equipment as well as anything that needs special and detailed work.
Weapons section specialists are in charge of putting specialized weapons on and off their assigned jet. They also schedule gun repairs and ensure the pilots have enough rounds and equipment to perform their training.
The support and supply sections staff gives out the necessary equipment for the other sections to perform their duties, including tools and parts.
“If a jets break, they need time to make sure they are fixed and ready for the next work day,” said 1st Lt. Michael Hampton, 62nd AMU assistant officer-in-charge. “If heavy maintenance is needed, the swing shift performs the tasks throughout the night in 10-to-12-hour shifts, so the jets are prepped, fixed and ready for the flying schedule the next day.”
Overall, Airmen from every section, unit and operations squadron within the 56th AMXS perform tasks to keep pilots in the air and trained for every possible situation.