healthy. Each aircraft gets a clear-water rinse every two weeks and a wash every 30 days. These are things that are accomplished three times as often here then back home.”
Airmen in the maintenance trenches feel strongly about the more than 50-year history of the aircraft and its current mission here.
“Being in the B-52 maintenance career field is great. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work on such a historic airframe,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Corey Richardson, 40th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems journeyman. “It has served as one of the primitive aircraft in the history of war and is still getting the job done. We are here to protect our country and loved ones – not just our loved ones, but everyone’s loved ones, and the B-52 helps seal the deal with its lethality.”
Pilots know how pivotal the maintainers are to their mission of providing close air support for U.S. and coalition forces.
“We have flown 200-plus sorties and have released more than 105 weapons on terrorsts, and none of it would have been possible without this group’s maintainers,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Mick R. Guthals, 40th Air Expeditionary Group commander.
“For the last 120 days, they have made magic happen. They’ve overcome a near grounding phase hour shortage, identified, tracked, and repaired a critical [Joint Direct Attack Munition] strake problem, established never before quantities of successful launches and achieved the illusive 100 percent mission capable rate, yet they are always ready for the next challenge – I couldn’t ask for more.”
Together with aircrew and support agencies, the maintainers feel they are saving lives.
"Our mission here is vital to life,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Perry Pagan, 40th [Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron] B-52 structural maintenance craftsman. “It’s vital because when you hear of a group of Marines pinned down with a fire fight in Afghanistan calling in an air strike, you better bet they appreciate that. They are someone’s brother, husband, or father down there – the sooner we can take care of the terrorists the better, and the 'Buff' aids in that mission.”