MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 35th Maintenance Squadron propulsion centralized repair flight (CRF) received keys to a new storage facility that stores all F-16 Fighting Falcons engines for U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) installations in January 2019, enabling the team to provide engines to its sister aircraft bases more quickly.
The Misawa central repair facility provides PACAF with an in-theater option for repairs and overhaul of GE F110 engines in support of all PACAF F-16 bases, to include Kunsan AB, Osan AB and Eielson Air Force Base.
“Having an in-theater CRF drastically reduces the amount of time required to move an engine around PACAF when the need arises,” explained Capt. Eric Boehm, the 8th Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer. “Should an engine at Kunsan AB require repair, the turnaround time for Misawa AB versus Hill AB would be weeks faster, which is vital to mission effectiveness.”
With operational efficiency being the main priority, a new building that suited Misawa and their counterparts was in order.
“A natural disaster destroyed the original building in 2010,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Almeria, the 35th MXS propulsion flight chief. “Not only did the previous structure have a large foot print on the environment but there was a ton of wasted space.”
Innovation was of the upmost importance when creating the new structure.
“This seemingly brand new building is actually not new; it’s recycled,” explained Almeria. “We took four vacant corrugated metal buildings from security hill not in use and disassembled those structures to make one super extra deluxe warehouse.”
The massive size of the structure allowed more storage, but that was not the sole benefit of salvaging materials.
“It was more cost-effective to recycle and repurpose,” explained Almeria. “It saved the Air Force money, time and resources. Since fewer materials are being used, this route of construction is also environmentally friendly.”
Propulsions Airmen previously used a hardened aircraft shelter to store spare parts and materials. Traveling across the flightline to access the temporary storage unit came with added responsibilities such as performing foreign object debris checks and having to stay aware of F-16s taxiing down the runway.
The project saves Airmen time in terms of feet versus miles.
“You can compare the distance to having a storage shed in your backyard to having your storage shed in the next neighborhood over,” chuckled Almeria. “We finally have storage in our own backyard.”
Although easy access to parts and equipment wasn’t always present for this team, that didn’t stop them from achieving their goals.
“We are the best in the Air Force as a whole right now with our production of GE F110 motors,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Dustin Jose, the 35th MXS propulsions superintendent. “That feat alone is amazing. Being nominated by 5th Air Force for the General Welsh One Air Force award is also a big deal. That recognition paired with winning the Fighter Wing's Team of the Year is truly an honor and testament to our Airmen’s dedication and drive.”