Science and Technology News

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Keeping the Buff young: Metals technology

by Senior Airman Jannelle Dickey
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

8/18/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -  -- Along with the other specialists who wait for the B-52 Stratofortress along the flightline, metals technology technicians are ready 24/7 to perform orthopedic surgery to fix any structural damage.

The 2nd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight's unique mission would not be complete without the specialists of the metals technology shop. Metals tech Airmen are responsible for designing, welding, repairing and fabricating aircraft and aircraft ground equipment parts.

"The mission could not be achieved without every component of the flight," said Staff Sgt. Carlos Torres, 2nd MXS metals tech assistant NCO in-charge. "We may not be on the flightline all the time, but when it is time for maintenance after the B-52 has landed, we have a huge role in [getting it back] in the air."

The shop is always up for a technical challenge, whether it's aligning holes for landing gear, replacing bearings, wielding cracks or fabricating brackets and other parts.

"We fix what others can't," said Senior Airman Brandon Bradley, 707th MXS metals tech journeyman. "We keep the parts taken off the aircraft or from AGE from having to be reproduced, resulting in the Air Force saving a lot of money."

The B-52 parts inevitably wear down, but metals tech can keep it flying just like new by manufacturing portions of the aircraft.

"The biggest thing we do here is fabricate parts for the aircraft that are no longer sold," said Torres. "We have blueprints, tools and machines like the computer numeric control machinery that enable us to do so."

Bradley stated they can create any part out of just a chunk of metal.

"Whatever you can imagine, you can make," Torres agreed. "There is no limit to what you can do in this career field."

Editor's note: This is the final installment of a three-part series on the mission of the 2nd Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight.

Airmen in the 2nd MXS metals technology shop possess efficient mechanical skills that are imperative to ensuring the B-52 can continue the mission.

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