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445th maintainers keep the fleet flying

Tech. Sgt. Tyler L. Williams, 445th Maintenance Squadron, operates a tungsten inert gas welder at the metal technologies shop here Aug. 4, 2019. Williams is repairing damaged metal by using high amperage electrical current and melted tungsten to fuse the broken steel pieces, essentially “gluing” the tough materials together. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Ethan Spickler)

Tech. Sgt. Tyler L. Williams, 445th Maintenance Squadron, operates a tungsten inert gas welder at the metal technologies shop here Aug. 4, 2019. Williams is repairing damaged metal by using high amperage electrical current and melted tungsten to fuse the broken steel pieces, essentially “gluing” the tough materials together. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Ethan Spickler)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

The 445th Maintenance Group, which includes the 445th Maintenance and Aircraft Maintenance Squadrons, is tasked with maintaining and supporting the mechanical operations of nine C-17 Globemaster III aircraft assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing.

The C-17, a mobile powerhouse, is capable of carrying more than 170,000 lbs. of cargo.

The maintenance squadrons work together to supplement and enhance the wing commander’s ability to direct this aircraft in support of the Air Force mission.

For every flight hour the C-17 is operational, it takes roughly 20 hours of maintenance to keep the aircraft in peak operational condition. This means that the reliability and safety of the aircraft demands constant attention from maintenance crews and is a priority for Airmen in the career field.

“Maintenance is all about safety,” said Senior Airman Jacob Keegan, a maintenance technician with the 445th MXS. “It is a big responsibility that we take seriously, and I am excited to continue learning and growing alongside the rest of maintenance. It is fulfilling knowing that we play a significant role in the wing’s success.”

In recent months, the aircraft of the 445th have maintained the highest operational tempo of any Air Force Reserve unit that flies utilizes C-17s. The wing averaged 461 flying hours per month for June – August 2019.

“The group operates very well as a team,” said Lt. Col. Randy Gantt, the 445th MXS commander. “We all have our own specialties, but all of the components come together to make everything work as well as possible. Our squadrons’ jobs are complementary to each other, and by extension, we are complementary to the wing.”

Each C-17 that travels down the flight line and carries out the Air Force mission at home and abroad is kept operational by the maintenance squadrons, and the effects of the efforts undergone by the maintenance group at home station can be felt not only on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but worldwide.

“Without the maintenance squadron and the rest of the maintenance group, you wouldn’t be able to execute the mission,” said Gantt. “From unimproved runways overseas to major bases around the nation, it’s our job to make sure our planes have the capabilities to operate safely and effectively anywhere they are needed.”