Maintenance after midnight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mary O'Dell
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
While many Airmen and their families are sleeping soundly in their beds, some members of the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are preparing for the night's work.

From 11:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m., these KC-135 Stratotanker maintainers are busy at work, ensuring mission readiness 24/7.

"The main purpose for this shift is to ensure someone is readily available in the case of an issue with an alert jet," said Staff Sgt. Marshall Fenton, 92nd AMXS flightline hydraulics. "Day-shift is also usually busy launching jets, so doing the heavier maintenance is easier for us with more time to focus because fewer planes fly during the night."

When they first arrive to work, Fenton and his fellow Airmen check out their tools and other necessary equipment they will need for their shift. Then, during "turnover" they take on any tasks that still have to be finished, if any, and wait for direction from their shift lead.

"We take on whatever work comes our way and make sure the mission gets done, day and night," said Fenton.

Fenton said this shift is very beneficial for new Airmen that aren't as qualified or are still learning; with most of the maintenance more extensive and thorough, Airmen can get qualified faster.

"These hours are typically used to pre-flight, service aircraft and accomplish scheduled or unscheduled maintenance to prepare for the upcoming flying schedule," said MSgt Joshua Daneker, 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron additional duty first sergeant.

One example of an inspection normally done at night is a 900-hour inspection. These are done routinely, every 900 flying hours for a jet.

"Flexibility is the key to airpower," Daneker said. "Without the 24/7 coverage the hardy maintainers provide, it would be impossible to accomplish the refueling mission in support of any operation."