Aircrew flight equipment team deploys to Guam
By Senior Airman Kayla McWalter, 157 ARW Public Affairs
/ Published March 07, 2015
ANDERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- An Aircrew Flight Equipment team from the 157th Air Refueling Wing recently returned from a deployment to the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron in support of a mission to support fighters, airlifters and bombers' along the Pacific region.
"Being here gives us a taste of active duty," said Tech. Sgt. Adam Hanson, a 157 ARW AFE technician. "Being in the guard you have a small amount of time, but seeing that active duty culture is eye opening."
While in Guam the team is responsible for maintaining all emergency safety equipment such as, rafts and survival kits onboard the KC-135's. They are also designated to ensure all flight equipment ranging from flight helmets to oxygen masks are in working order.
"We're working on stuff that people don't see," said Senior Airman Alex Allbee, a deployed 157 ARW AFE technician. "Hopefully you will never have to use our equipment, but it has to work -- it could mean the difference between life and death."
After every flight the technicians preform mission termination inspections to ensure all life-saving equipment are working properly and are restored back to their assigned locations.
"Pilots and boom operators come in after a flight with their helmets and we maintain them, we put them in their individual lockers, and if the crew has problems with any of their equipment we do the best we can to work on it here [in the 506 EARS Operations building] or bring it to the bombers AFE," said Hanson.
The AFE technicians deployed to the 506 EARS play a crucial role in Andersen's mission as well as the mission back home. Not only did the 157 ARW send crucial members in support of the mission, but it also provided the AFE technicians with a learning experience.
"We need to make sure we can get the KC-135 in the air in order to execute the mission and to get the other jet to where they need to go," said Allbee. "This trip has helped give me more perspective and see how important AFE is, without us the mission would be impossible."
The technicians of the AFE team take their responsibilities seriously and work by their motto, "When everything else fails, we are the last ones to let them down."