Saturday, February 28, 2009

442nd MXG earns Maintenance Effectiveness Award

by Maj. David Kurle
442nd Fighter Wing

2/27/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Maintenance Group can add another award to the hallway leading to the wing's 5-Bay Hangar - the Air Force Reserve Command Maintenance Effectiveness Award as the best medium-sized aircraft maintenance unit in the command for Fiscal Year 2008.

"It's kind of nice to be known as the best," said Lt. Col. Michael Wood, the group's commander since Dec. 6, 2008. "This unit has always been known as one of the best A-10 maintenance units in the entire Air Force."

Among the group's accomplishments in 2008 was a 45-day deployment of A-10s and maintenance specialists to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, to produce combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"What I think put us over the top for the award, was the deployment (to Afghanistan)," Colonel Wood said. "I always say, 'quality maintenance equals combat effectiveness.'"

While deployed, Citizen Airmen in the 442nd MXG produced more than 600 A-10 combat sorties, which put more than 2,500 hours on the wing's aircraft. The amount of sorties represented a 17-percent increase over previous A-10 units at Bagram.

A deployment halfway around the world wasn't the only accomplishment of the 442nd MXG - at its home base the men and women in the unit provided combat capability every day to the tune of almost 3,500 sorties.

During training missions from Whiteman Air Force Base, the wing's pilots dropped more than 240 bombs and fired more than 94,000 rounds of 30-millimeter ammunition - all of which had to be stored, maintained, prepared for flight and loaded on aircraft by 442nd MXG maintainers.

In November 2007, the group finished installing smart-multi-function color displays in all 27 of the wing's A-10s, representing a major electronics and combat-capability upgrade for the wing's pilots. From February through May, 442nd maintainers completed another electronics upgrade to the wing's aircraft to enable pilots to talk "beyond-line-of-sight" using satellites for communication.

After its Bagram deployment, the 442nd MXG began work on three time-compliance technical orders to identify and repair wing cracks in certain A-10s.

And, in October, the group provided the majority of the maintenance effort for 14 A-10 teams competing in Hawgsmoke 2008 in Salina, Kan.

"We accomplished everything that was asked of us and still maintained the highest standards of quality in all of our maintenance shops," said Chief Master Sgt. Steve Brazeal, 442nd Maintenance Squadron superintendent. "We do as much as any maintenance group in the Air Force and our planes still look the best of any in the A-10 community as far as appearance."

"The Airmen in the 442nd MXG should be proud of the fact that they have been recognized as the best of the best out of all the maintenance organizations in Air Force Reserve Command," Colonel Wood said. "This is all due to their tremendous efforts."

Far from resting on the group's laurels, Colonel Wood is focused on 2009 and the challenges in store for the 442nd MXG.

"Our main focus this year is nothing but our upcoming operational readiness inspection," he said. "My focus other than the ORI is making sure everyone is getting back to the basics - maintenance-101.''


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