Reserve maintainers keep flying

Staff Sgt. Darren Howell and Staff Sgt. Gregory Deas, 926th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, work to ensure an aircraft is fit to be back in the flying rotation, Feb. 6, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Paige Yenke)

The Citizen Airmen of the 926th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron fulfilled their mission of ensuring aircraft were ready to fly at Red Flag 21-1, which took place Jan. 25 through Feb. 12, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The Red Flag exercise provides realistic, multi-domain training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while allowing the free exchange of ideas between forces.

The maintainers, who are seamlessly integrated with active duty on a daily basis, provide safe and reliably maintained aircraft to the total force team and Red Flag is no exception.

Senior Airman Javel Singleton, Tech Sgt. Jaime Hastings, and Senior Airman Kaleb Moyer, 926th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, remove a weapon from an F-16, Feb. 6, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Paige Yenke)

“Our maintainers bring expertise and continuity to the mission every day, the only difference for us during Red Flag is the maintenance and flying tempo increases, but we simply flex with it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Bennato, 926th AMXS, 4th Generation Aircraft Maintenance Unit, superintendent.

For junior maintenance technicians, who have little to no experience, the sizeable Red Flag exercise provides opportunity to receive invaluable training.

With a packed flying schedule, the 926th AMXS leadership have had to be flexible due to COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring the mission is accomplished while keeping their Airmen healthy.

“We’re balancing fluid COVID-19 restrictions and directives,” said Bennato. “Travel and civilian employment circumstances have constricted participation of those maintainers who live out-of-town, but our flight chiefs have been very creative in meeting our training objectives and providing Reservists a path for success.”

Staff Sgt. Scott Stump, 926th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, works on an F-16, Feb. 6, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Paige Yenke)



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