Dover and Tinker reservists assist Niagara

  • Published
  • By Peter Borys
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The military has always been a team effort in everything we do and when the 914th Air Refueling Wing put out a call for volunteers to assist their maintenance squadron a couple of months ago, seven reservists from Delaware and Oklahoma responded.

Aircraft 2599, a KC-135R Stratotanker demanded intense structural repairs that would use up 914th Maintenance Group resources that were simply not available at the time due to COVID; members on deployment, and the requirements of maintaining the flying schedule.

Answering the call were seven aircraft structural maintenance members. Four reservists from the 512th Maintenance Squadron, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware and three from the 507th Maintenance Squadron, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

According to 914th MXS, Maintenance Operations Officer 2nd Lieutenant Zachary Sexton,

“The request for additional help was made so that we could keep to our long-range maintenance planning. In addition, the aircraft is scheduled to be sent to depot level maintenance followed by a transfer to Beale AFB, California in March and we want to ensure that we give them a good product worthy of the 914th’s reputation.”

Once the reservists arrived at the beginning of January they got right to work.

Even though some of these individuals work on different airframes such as the C-5 Galaxy and the C-17 Globemaster aircraft, Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Kneut, 914th Maintenance Squadron Flight Chief explained, “Sheet metal is basically the same on both types of aircraft, just different planes, bigger surfaces.  These members are multi-talented and work across different airframes.”

“The crew has already put in close to 130 hours of work and their assistance has been critical in helping us achieve our maintenance goals and deadlines,” added Kneut.

Not only was this of benefit to Niagara, but also to the 512th and 507th. Master Sgt. Lawrence Tungol, 512th MXS, aircraft structural maintenance supervisor who works on the KC-135 stated that this experience has been beneficial to both Team Dover and Team Tinker.

“We have been able to receive some valuable training for our members. It’s helping out on both sides,” said Tungol.

Master Sgt. Jason Cohee, 507th MXS, aircraft structural maintenance supervisor who generally works on C-5s and C-17s said, “The nature of the repair itself was a bit of a unique challenge (as) it isn’t typical of field maintenance. We don’t do it very often per say, so changing the panels on aircraft 2599 and doing fuselage repairs are considered major jobs that are handled at a major maintenance facility.”

“It’s always nice to know that C-17 guys are more than willing to come here and help fix a KC-135 and of course we would help reciprocate the help if they would request it,” said Kneut.  “I believe we developed a great working relationship with these Airmen and if we required help again, they would volunteer and come back again.”

Cohee added, “It’s been a good relationship working with Niagara. Our communication has been on point. We coordinated very well with their sheet metal and ISO (Isochronal) guys. Just being able to facilitate us coming out here does present challenges bringing in two different units. I feel like it’s been done pretty seamlessly to bring us all together to get this completed.”

This is the first time coming to Niagara for both supervisors who were surprised at the little amount of snowfall and warm winter temperatures.  The team is scheduled to complete their mission by the end of this month.