JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Maintainers from the 62d Airlift Wing, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., are critical to the success of C-17 Globemaster III operations during Exercise RED-FLAG, Alaska 23-1 and Exercise Rainier War 22B.

RED FLAG-Alaska is a series of field training exercises led by Commander Pacific Air Force for U.S. forces.

Exercise Rainier War is a large-scale readiness exercise with a force generation priority; demonstrating the ability to generate, employ and sustain combat force during a rigorous warfare scenario.

“We are here in Alaska working under different conditions to learn more about the unique types of training required for future deployments,” said Tech. sergeant. Chase Gautschi, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-17 Globemaster III, flight crew chief. “We train to prepare aircraft for flights, to ensure that we support aircrew and also to integrate with other maintenance units, as well as other airframes and countries.”

Participating in Red Flag -Alaska in conjunction with Exercise Rainier War is an opportunity for members of the 62d AW to provide precise training over several weeks.

“I think combining RED FLAG-Alaska with Exercise Rainier War makes sense because it gives all of us a chance to really focus on the deployment mindset,” Gautschi said. “That’s what we do, no matter where we go. There are always challenges because the conditions are not like home. These exercises really make us focus on the concept of versatile airmen to step out of our comfort zones, think outside the box, and find solutions.

Maintenance crews worked countless hours on day and evening shifts to ensure the aircraft was able to meet the demands of the exercise.

“This is my first time on an exercise of this magnitude and I have had very good experience,” said Senior Airman David Jones, crew chief of the 62d AMXS. “I haven’t been deployed yet, so this is a good opportunity for me to experience what it will be like and prepare.”

Jones explained that his standard roles and responsibilities are pretty much the same, but the processes he’s used to are different being so far from the docking station.

“We still do regular maintenance and inspections, but it can be difficult to get help with more detailed tasks,” Jones said. “Back home, we know everyone and know where to go for help. But despite the differences, we achieved our goals of meeting maintenance and inspection requirements. It’s right here, things play out a little differently.

The rigorous training means that aircraft must be thoroughly inspected, and sometimes modifications must be made in order to meet the objectives of the next day’s mission.

“Part of the training requires the plane to land in areas that are only semi-prepared, so we have to go under the plane and do maintenance to protect it from damage,” Gautschi said. “Safety is a top priority in everything we do, both for people and for equipment. These semi-prepared runway ops are a big part of the drills, so as maintenance we need to remove the anti-collision light from the bottom of the plane because otherwise the dirt or rocks where the plane lands can break them.

Gautschi went on to explain some additional priorities for his team, such as checking water separators inside air conditioning systems, checking tires for proper maintenance, and inspecting the impact strip that prevents radio antennas and gear doors from being damaged.

In these types of large-scale exercises, maintainers working together to share knowledge so they can quickly and safely deliver fully mission-capable aircraft is a huge mission priority.

“I think this exercise is a good opportunity for all skill levels of Airmen we have here, as it gives them a good idea of ​​their expectations and great training for their future deployment,” Gautschi said. “It also shows them the next set of responsibilities they will have as they progress in their careers and gain momentum.”

Exercises like RED FLAG-Alaska and Exercise Rainier War give Team McChord Airmen a great opportunity to learn and grow as service members.

“I really appreciate how we can come here and do our jobs around other types of aircraft and people from all over the world,” Jones said. “I really enjoy my time and the experience here.”

Date taken: 21.10.2022
Date posted: 21.10.2022 17:24
Story ID: 431831

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