Putting a bird to bed

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
  • 6 Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
"Bolt-44, five mikes out, alpha-one," relayed the crew of a late-landing KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to MacDill AFB. Meanwhile, seven maintainers and a fuel technician stood-by, awaiting the planes arrival so they could "put it to bed."

Once the aircraft's landing condition was dispatched to the maintenance caretakers, they knew exactly what needed to be done. In this case, alpha-one meant that there were no write-ups and routine post-flight checks and a refuel were all that needed to be accomplished.

Although the crew reported no discrepancies, the maintainers still conducted a meticulous, 6-hour attention-to-detail inspection from aircraft tip-to-tail.

"Each time an aircraft comes back from a sortie, we must complete a series of routine but extremely attentive checks," commented Airman 1st Class, Jordan Johnson, 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "The safety of our crews and the fulfillment of our mission rely on it."

From wheel, landing gear, and break inspections to electronics systems and airframe structural integrity checks, the maintenance crew ensured that each checklist item was copasetic and ready for the next mission.

Being that the MacDill enables global strike and global reach and provides unwavering tanker support to the joint war fighting commanders, this type of mission readiness is critical for all 16 of their KC-135s.