MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Airmen from various aircraft maintenance units, or AMUs, participated in an exercise Dec. 4 through 7 that tested their ability to accurately and efficiently generate 16 aircraft from Moody’s fleet of A-10C Thunderbolt II’s to rapidly deploy to meet the needs of combatant commanders.
As part of Moody’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 exercise, a Tiger Team consisting of four maintenance professionals, with varying areas of expertise, had the pivotal role of ensuring each aircraft was ready for inspections by Moody’s Wing Inspection Team (WIT).
“Overall, this exercise tests our readiness to be able to deploy at ,” said Tech. Sgt. Patrick McKnight, 75th AMU flightline expeditor. “If a tasking comes down, we have to be able to generate the aircraft to meet that need, and this exercise ensures we can produce what they may need. We go around inspecting the jets for any possible safety [discrepancies] that would cause problems during flight.”
Before the Tiger Team can inspect the aircraft, another team called a cell is responsible for getting the aircraft ready and must perform all of the repairs.
“Our cell is responsible for generating four jets for the exercise so we have all the specialties within our cell to prepare the jets before the inspection,” said Master Sgt. Kennneth Wilkey, 75th AMU A-10 avionics specialist. “As the cell boss, I’ll say this jet is ready then the tiger team will come in and they will use their experts to look at everything we’ve done. If they find a discrepancy, they let us know and we fix it.
“The different cells perform necessary maintenance on the aircraft and we come behind them as system experts to ensure everything is good to go,” McKnight added. “If we don’t do our job correctly, when quality assurance or WIT comes to inspect the jet, it could get turned away because of problems we didn’t find.”
The Tiger team, which typically consists of a crew chief, specialist and a weapons Airman, is chosen based on experience level and whether the Airman’s leadership trusts them to know their job and perform it at a high level.
“Every Airman on this team has been through this more than once in their career,” McKnight said. “They know what they’re looking at, what to look for, and what high interest items they need to pay close attention to.”
While the exercise puts stress and strain on maintenance units across Moody to meet the tasking demands, it gives them an opportunity to work with other specialties and get the job done.
“Honestly, the best part is watching everybody come together to get the jets ready to go,” McKnight said. “It gives the new guys a chance to see what we would do if something were to actually kick-off.”