NEWS | Feb. 28, 2020

Aerospace Ground Equipment: Starting from the Ground Up

By 1st Class China M. Shock 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Part of the 35th Fighter Wing mission is to project combat air power, and for the aerospace ground equipment (AGE) flight, the mission starts on the ground with a motto defining the nature of the career field: “no air power without ground power.”

AGE flights, most commonly known for their service, pick-up and delivery section (SPUDS), maintain and inspect equipment used on the flightline, ensuring it is serviceable for maintainers and crew chiefs.

"Our job entails a large scope of the 35th Fighter Wing's readiness as maintainers," said Tech. Sgt. John Murray, a 35th Maintenance Squadron AGE inspection NCO in charge. “We are jacks of all trades.”

While generating aircraft, AGE provides the ground power necessary to maintain air superiority.

According to Master Sgt. Bryce Chlebisch, the 35th MXS AGE flight chief, the AGE flight provides equipment such as hydraulic test stands, diesel generators, gas turbine generators, air conditioning units, heaters, jacks, maintenance stands, nitrogen carts, lights and more to support the F-16 Fighting Falcons as well as transient aircraft.

“Every day we impact Misawa’s ability to have our F-16s in the air,” said Chlebisch. “It makes me proud to be a part of this flight.”

Being responsible for 504 pieces of equipment and an average of 1,400 equipment dispatches, 167 maintenance actions and 667 periodic and phase inspections every month could create challenges, but the AGE flight has it handled.

“Although AGE is never out of work due to Misawa’s high operations tempo and the amount of equipment the shop is responsible for maintaining, this shop remains dedicated and prepared to handle whatever may come our way,” said Chlebisch. “There may be some bumps along the way, but our Airmen adapt quickly, professionally and correctly to any situation thrown at them.”

From inspecting and troubleshooting to making hands-on repairs and maintaining proper standards, AGE personnel play an essential role in making sure the F-16s remain mission-capable.

“We must be ready to fight tonight should we be required to do so,” said Chlebisch. “Through the dedicated work done by the Airmen, I have no doubt Misawa’s flightline is ready.”