Sabers units get the point: 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 52nd Fighter Wing has more than 30 units on and off base, working day in and day out to fulfill the mission of defending American and allied interests and building partner capacities.

Throughout the year, 52nd FW Public Affairs will highlight each of the wing's units as together they serve a critical role in fulfilling this mission.

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of world-class safe and reliable maintenance for equipment and aircraft here on Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany? If you answer anything other than the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron... you're wrong!

The 52nd EMS mission is just that: it provides safe, reliable and world-class aircraft, equipment, and munitions maintenance to the 52nd Fighter Wing in support of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO objectives.

"We deliver munitions; we deliver alternate mission equipment like the pylons and racks in which you load the munitions, all the aerospace ground equipment to power all the aircraft that are out on the flight line," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryan Keith Wong, 52nd EMS commander. "We also provide structural maintenance like metal work on the aircraft and non-destructive inspections, so things that you can't see can be repaired."

There are more than 300 personnel in the 52nd EMS consisting of five specialty flights.

Three sections make up the fabrication flight; sheet metal, metals technology, and non-destructive inspection, explained U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ignacio Rosado, 52nd EMS, Aircraft structural maintenance craftsman from Emily, Michigan.

"In sheet metal, we take aircraft parts and we fabricate new ones. We will repair old ones...anything internal structurally and even the external skin, we will repair or make;" said Rosado "The corrosion part is when we build up original coating thicknesses on the aircraft, which extends the service life of the aircraft, protecting it from any wear, tear and corrosion."

The largest flight in the squadron is the munitions flight. According to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Ansel, 52nd EMS, Senior Munitions inspector from Ephrata, Pa., this flight is the quality-assurance point for the aircraft munitions.

.. "We are the front line in determining whether these assets [munitions] are serviceable, so that if called upon to deliver to war, we know with confidence that we're sending quality munitions out that are going to function as intended," Ansel said.

Ansel works with and trains his fellow Airmen to complete their duty with hands on training.

"As the senior munitions inspector, I'm responsible to provide oversight for all the certified munitions inspectors. What that entails is we maintain the integrity of the munitions stock," said Ansel. "We're based around attention to detail: we have lots of regulations, we deal with DoD transportation, we have Air Force and navy regulations that we have to follow [attention to detail] is very important."

The armament flight provides the maintenance to the gun and missile systems that they go on.

"Any kind of maintenance that has to be done to the gun system or on the pylons the racks holding the munitions, those types of repairs are all done by armament flight," said Wong.

This maintenance ensures the munitions are properly mounted on the aircraft and ready to be used if necessary.

The maintenance flight does deep inspections of the aircraft on hourly bases, tearing down the aircraft then building it back up.

"Our main mission here is to produce a flawless product for the flight line and keep these jets in the fight. So every discrepancy we find, we fix. We install new parts, we make the jet better when it rolls out then when it came into our shop." said Staff Sgt. Todd Hughes, 52nd EMS, F-16 phase floor chief, Williamsport Pa.

The maintenance flight does more than just inspect and fix aircraft.

"Maintenance also encompasses a wheel and tire shop that builds all the wheels and tires for the F-16," said Wong "They also have a crashed, damaged, disabled aircraft recovery section in case there is an incident on the flight line my guys are always on emergency notice to go out and make sure they recover and move that aircraft from the runway to make it safe."

Hughes details the mindset he gives his new airmen when they arrive.

"We give them the mind set of attention to detail because this job is really important. We try to teach step by step, these guys are really new, especially when they are right out of tech school, or they weren't phase prior to coming to us," said Hughes "We try to give them that proper training by the book, follow the technical order, that what it's there for, it tell you what to do. You can't mess up."

Hughes also attributes his airmen stepping up and learning the mission to his fellow trainers who have been here longer and teach the younger airmen the ropes.

The 52nd EMS is on Spangdahlem everyday accomplishing the mission and propelling the wing to success.

Wong highlights how his Airmen contribute immensely to the success of the 52nd FW.

"All my guys deliver their services on the flight line, they build bombs, and they're working on the aircraft as needed. These are a lot of Airmen that are behind the scenes, they don't get the glory of launching the planes," said Wong. "They can trace their actions all the way to getting an aircraft in the air."