Thunderbolt — The Book pg3


56th Maintenance Group

56th Maintenance Group

Mission: Maximize Safe & Reliable Aircraft Availability to Train the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilots and Combat-ready Airmen

Vision: Safely Generate Mission Ready Aircraft while Developing Airmen and Supporting their Families to Build the Future of Airpower

Demographics: There are more than 2,600 active-duty and civilian members.


Commander: Col. Michael Allison

Deputy commander: Lt. Col. Robert Kongaika and Lt. Col. Joshua Wennrich

Maintenance Group superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Wiener

Weapons standardization superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Richard Pelletier

Quality assurance: 2nd Lt. Fermin Cabrera

56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron

Mission: Provide safe and reliable maintenance and munitions support to build the future of airpower.

Vision: Provide sustained flexibility through a disciplined and innovative approach while developing Airmen and supporting our families.

Demographics: There are 545 military and civilians assigned.


Commander: Maj. Richard Wille

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. James Royston Jr.

First sergeant: Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Nissen

Responsibilities: Maintains 703 pieces of aerospace ground equipment, 1,200 pieces of alternate mission equipment and a munitions stockpile all valued at more than $208 million. Perform aircraft inspection and repair of 78 F-16 and 53 F-35 aircraft.

Fun facts: The squadron was redesignated the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron June 15,1977, at MacDill Air Force, Florida, the first equipment maintenance squadron in the Air Force. The squadron was reassigned to Luke AFB April 1, 1994.

56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Mission: Safely generate mission ready aircraft and develop our Airmen

Demographics: There are more than 974 military, civilian and contractor members, including 100 Singapore maintainers.


Commander: Lt. Col. Adam Hauer

Maintenance operations officer: Capt. Brian Humphreys

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Bailey

Assistant superintendent: Senior Master Sgt. Marc Iorio

First sergeants: Master Sgts. Ian Beach, Sedric Whitaker and Joshua Horning

Responsibilities: Provides organizational level maintenance for 25 F-16A/B/C/D aircraft and 78 F-35A aircraft valued at more than $5 billion. Also has a $700,000 annual budget to ensure mission-ready aircraft directly supporting U.S. Air Force active and Reserve components, Singapore and Taiwan air forces pilot training.

756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Mission: We train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready Airmen.

Vision: We build the future of airpower

Demographics: There are more than 670 military, civilian and contractor members.


Commander: Lt. Col. Edward Romero

Maintenance Operations officer: Maj. Johnathan Marburger

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Michael Schrick

First sergeants: Master Sgts. Claire Streff, Joshua Dinger and Charles Bass

Responsibilities: Provides organizational level maintenance for 52 Block 25 and 42 F-16A/B/C/D aircraft and 12 F-35A and 12 U.S. F-35 aircraft valued at more than $1 trillion. Provides organizational level maintenance for 52 Block 25 and 42 F-16A/B/C/D aircraft and 12 F-35A and six Netherlands F-35 aircraft valued at more than $2.2 billion, generating more than 9,000 sorties annually. Has an annual budget of $700,000 to ensure mission-ready aircraft directly supporting U.S. Air Force active and Reserve components and pilot training.

56th Component Maintenance Squadron

Mission: Maximize safe and reliable aircraft availability to train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready Airmen.

Demographics: There are 453 military and 54 civilian personnel across 15 specialties.


Commander: Maj. Joseph Langan

Maintenance operations officer: Capt. Benjamin Flores

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Lewis

First sergeant: Master Sgt. Rochelle Coley

Responsibilities: “We Are the Scorpions! We Put the Sting in the Wing” by delivering maintenance solutions for the Air Force’s largest combat pilot training program. We are divided into four maintenance/support flights and one centralized supporting section: Avionics, accessories, test, measurement and diagnostic equipment, maintenance staff operations and the command support staff. The squadron was awarded the Air Education & Training Command 2018 Verne Orr Award and 2018 Maintenance Effectiveness Award.

56th Mission Support Group

6th Mission Support Group

Mission: Proactively serve Team Luke, providing a premier base community built on pride. We genuinely care about those we serve.

Demographics: There are seven active-duty and two civilian members.


Commander: Col. Ryan Richardson

Deputy commander: Lt. Col. Neal Kleinschmidt

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Dana Council

Responsibilities: Delivers responsive combat support and builds a premier base through fostering of community partnerships. Six squadrons, 1,900-plus members, perform the critical installation mission support to help keep the wing flying; serve more than 94,000 people and maintain approximately 4,200 acres and $2 billion value in land, buildings and real property.

56th Civil Engineer Squadron

Mission: Provide technically sound combat-ready engineers to build, sustain and protect Luke Air Force Base through engineering and emergency response services.

Demographics: There are 226 active-duty and 131 civilian members assigned.


Commander: Lt. Col. Clint Townsend

Deputy commander: Neil Wentz

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Martin

First sergeant: Master Sgt. Raymond Ramsey

Responsibilities: Includes fire protection, explosive ordnance disposal, readiness, design and construction, environmental programs, family housing and operations, and maintenance of Luke AFB and the Barry M. Goldwater Range, including runways at Gila Bend and Aux1 field.

Fun facts: One of the oldest wing units, it was first designated Squadron C, 56th Airdrome Group July 28, 1947, at Selfridge Field, Michigan, and is now known as the Dragonslayers.

56th Communications Squadron

Mission: We connect Team Luke

Demographics: There are 75 military, 18 civilians and five contractors.


Commander: Maj. Nathaniel Edwards

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Sheldon Curl

Plans and resources flight director/deputy: Michael Petz

Operations flight director: Harlan Hodgson

Responsibilities: Maintain automatic data processing equipment and provide computer services, personal wireless communications systems, records management, publications and forms, network infrastructure, spectrum management, knowledge management services, and telecommunications and information assurance for Luke Air Force Base.

Fun facts: The squadron motto, “Loquimini Tonitrum” means, “Speak the Thunder.”

56th Force Support Squadron

Mission: Provide world-class support to Airmen and their families

Demographics: There are 126 active-duty, 82 appropriated fund personnel and 329 nonappropriated fund civilians.


Commander: Maj. Jesse Johnson

Deputy commander: Louis Vance

Operations officer: Capt. Kenneth Lee

Superintendent: Senior Master Sgt. Latisha Figaro

First sergeant: Master Sgt. Esmeralda McKenzie

Responsibilities: Second largest 56th FW squadron with 537 personnel and 60 facilities. Executes a combined $8.1 million appropriated and nonappropriated funds budget. Oversees manpower, personnel and MWR actions; five groups, 31 squadrons, three geographically separated units and seven tenants. Provides quality of life and personnel service to 4,200 military, 1,300 APF/NAF civilians, 8,000 dependents, for five countries and 74,000 retirees. Serves as the 56th FW mortuary office and provides all food and lodging support for Air Force aircraft
search and recovery operations in the Arizona region.

Fun facts: Luke’s Airman & Family Readiness Center was one of the original 25 centers stood up in 1982. The A&FRC opened its doors Oct. 22, 1982, in the same building it’s in today. The Child and Youth Services Flight serves more than 3,750 meals per week and changes more than 4,000 diapers per week. Since the 1980s, commanders have participated as Story Time readers to children at the base library. Many previous Luke wing commanders who were Story Time readers went on to receive second and third stars.

56th Security Forces Squadron

Mission: We secure the future of airpower

Demographics: There are 178 military, 25 Department of the Air Force civilian police and 12 civilian personnel assigned.


Commander: Maj. Kimberly Guest

Operations officer: Capt. Richard Cordova

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Brandon Wolfgang

First sergeant: Master Sgt. Robert Nelson

Responsibilities: Security of assigned and transient aircraft, law enforcement services, installation security, personnel security, combat arms training for all air expeditionary forces assigned to the 56th FW and deployment of unit personnel to the area of responsibility.

Fun facts: The diamondback rattlesnake represents the 56th SFS with 50 diamond shapes on its back and six rattles. It is prevalent in the area where 56th SFS is stationed and is an appropriate symbol because it will stand its ground and strike when threatened.

56th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Mission: Provide superior integrated global logistics solution

Demographics: There are 290-plus military and 66 civilian members assigned


Commander: Lt. Col. Robinson Mata

Operations officer: Maj. John Vogel

Superintendent: Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Hodgin

First sergeant: Master Sgt. Travis Merriman

Responsibilities: Provides sustainment and logistics support for the 56th Fighter Wing, 944th FW and the Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield. Deployment and distribution administers mission and contingency operations support through planning, cargo movement, household goods and passenger movement, and vehicle, and air terminal operations. Materiel management sustains the wing with aircraft parts, consumables and permanent mission support kits through its flight service center, storage and customer service sections, and furnishes direct
supply liaison support to the 56th Maintenance Group.

Vehicle management performs materiel control, quality analysis, and general purpose, specialized and heavy equipment maintenance for the wing’s 740-vehicle fleet. Fuels management dispenses clean, safe Jet-A to the base through its 24-hour fuels service center, and flightline refueling operations. Readiness postures more than 240 personnel to support joint logistics operational requirements worldwide, while operations compliance executes quality assurance, training, resource management and systems responsibilities to support daily squadron operations.

Fun facts: The Latin motto on the LRS patch, “Semper Expeditus,” translates to “Always Ready.” The 56th LRS maintains one of the highest deployment tempos in the Air Education and Training Command. The unit is proud of their heritage and their “Outlaw” name.

56th Contracting Squadron

Mission: Procure, prepare, deploy

Vision: To set the standard in innovative acquisition support

Demographics: There are 18 military and 23 civilian members assigned.


Commander: Maj. Barbara Divine

Director of business operations: Mary Peetz

Superintendent: Master Sgt. Justin McMurray

Responsibilities: Awards on average $60 million annually in appropriated and nonappropriated funded contracts, and manages more than $300 million in commodity, service, and construction contracts supporting the 56th FW, the 944th FW, Fort Tuthill Air Force Recreational Area, Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field, the 1.7-million-acre Barry M. Goldwater Range and other key tenant units.

Consists of three operational flights: Services/commodity, construction/commodity, and plans and programs. Also serves as the installation program management office for the 56th FW Government Purchase Card Program. The GPC program office manages 350 cardholders, 165 managing accounts, 330 approving officials and more than 20,000 transactions with expenditures averaging $15 million annually. Trains, equips and deploys contingency contracting officers worldwide as part of the U.S. Air Force expeditionary forces.

Fun facts: Base patrons once viewed movies on the big screen in the facility. The 56th CONS building is the home of the original base theater.