MILDENHAL, United Kingdom - Everyone assigned to RAF Mildenhall sees the planes lining the runways as they drive to work. People in the local community also see the planes flying over the base. But many people don’t think of what it takes to keep those planes in top condition.
The 100th Maintenance Squadron inspection section’s mission is to accomplish hourly post flight, periodic and 900-hour inspections on 15 KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft assigned to RAF Mildenhall. The shop’s service members wash and inspect the fleet for corrosion and carry out repairs found during inspections.
The shop is comprised of skilled personnel, all highly-trained in their career field. The training is hard work and takes dedication. The people who enter this career field must hold these values. At RAF Mildenhall, the people behind the maintenance equipment all joined to serve their country for a number of reasons.
“I joined the Air Force to find direction, education and to travel,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Sibala-Lim, 100th MXS inspection section chief from Lutz, Fla. “I attended a technical high school whose main focus was in aircraft maintenance. This helped me choose which career path to take.”
Other members of Sibala-Lim’s team joined for other reasons to include helping with security of their nation.
“I joined to know that what I do enables the KC-135 aircraft to fly and meet its missions in the defense of our nation’s freedom,” said Airman 1st Class James Greer, 100th MXS inspection propulsion journeyman from McAlester, Okla.
This career path allowed Greer to become part of a mission-essential shop, vital to the base as a whole. His team performs preventative maintenance on KC-135 engines.
The 100th MXS Maintenance Flight inspection section is the only shop augmented to assist the aero repair section with crash and recovery on the base. They are also the only major isochronal inspection shop in U.S. Air Forces in Europe for the KC-135R/T aircraft.
This team works with other squadrons including the 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 95th Reconnaissance Squadron and 352nd Special Operations Group.
They also assist other 100th MXS sections including the accessories flight’s electrical and environmental, fuel cell and hydro shops, as well as the 100th MXS Fabrication Flight’s sheet metal and metals technology shops.
“Our shop also supports the transient alert with aircraft refuels, defuels, inspections and tows,” Sibala-Lim said.
The role of the 100th MXS Maintenance Flight inspection section personnel is critical and potentially saves lives. It’s work that must be done thoroughly, and in a timely manner, in order to keep the aircrew and those on the ground safe.
“If I don’t do my job properly, I could potentially put lives at risk,” Greer said. “I take my time and do everything to the best of my abilities.”
The pressure of the job doesn’t stop the team from enjoying their work or taking pride in ensuring the mission is never jeopardized.
“The inspection section is a part of the best maintenance squadron in the Air Force,” Sibala-Lim said.