Fuel tank repair everywhere

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Airman 1st Class Grace Mathews, 355th Component Maintenance Squadron fuel system journeyman, enters the inside of an A-10 Thunderbolt II fuel tank while her attendant watches over her at Davis-Monthan Air Base, Ariz., Sept. 17, 2019. Mathews was tasked to scrape sealant off the inside of the fuel tank to prepare it for further maintenance. While she accomplished this, the attendant was in charge of walking her through the next steps and ensuring her safety. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Cheyenne A. Powers)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., is home to more than 11,000 Airmen who directly support four combatant commanders around the globe every day.

Out of those Airmen, there are only 89 who maintain the fuel systems on every aircraft assigned to Davis-Monthan.

The 355th Aircraft Fuel Systems Repair Shop is responsible for troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing over 5.3 billion dollars of aircraft on Davis-Monthan.

“Most maintenance done is considered unscheduled maintenance,” said Master Sgt. Jason Festog, 355th Component Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Fuel System Repair Shop section lead. “This means at any point an aircraft is experiencing fuel system problems it is brought in for the technicians to troubleshoot the issue and determine a repair process.”

In order to perform fuel system repairs on any aircraft at any given time, specific Airmen were trained on their respective aircraft. However, with Davis-Monthan advancing the Dynamic Wing deployment concept and its ability to use multi-functional airmen, it has become necessary for each fuel system technician to be fully trained and qualified on every airframe on Davis-Monthan.

Airman 1st Class Grace Mathews, 355th Component Maintenance Squadron fuel system journeyman, dons her respirator mask prior to entering the fuel tank of an A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Sept. 17, 2019. Fuel system technicians are required to wear proper protective equipment while performing maintenance on any aircraft’s fuel system. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Cheyenne A. Powers)

“Typically we have specific billets for specific airframes,” said Festog. “So not everyone had to be qualified on multiple airframes. However, now in order to support the wing in its adaptive basing we are requiring all personnel to be trained on all aircraft. This will allow anyone to support any airframe at any time while deployed.”

In an era of great power competition, Airmen across Davis-Monthan are preparing for high-end readiness where large-scale, dynamic force employment is mission critical. This new requirement ensures any Airmen within the Aircraft Fuel System Repair shop can rapidly deploy to any austere and contested location around the world and provide support to any aircraft.