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    37th AMU BONES crew chiefs: keeping freedom in the skies

    37th AMU BONES crew chiefs: Keeping freedom in the skies

    Photo By Master Sgt. Alexandre Montes | Airman 1st Class Sade Wilkins, 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, listens to...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes 

    379th Air Expeditionary Wing

    AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar - The mighty B1-B Lancer is a storied airframe that was only supposed to fly for 20 years. 30 and some odd years later, the elusive B-1B is still the primary strike workhorse here, dropping several thousand bombs in the past year supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Managing the Lancer stable are several dedicated crew chiefs from the 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, proud to be known as the BONES.

    Several units that work on the flight line service multiple aircraft. The 37th AMU BONES crew chiefs, however, solely concentrate on making sure their B1-B is ready for the mission and its aircrew. They complete quality reviews on both service and fuel daily.

    “We have many shops that work on the electrical, hydraulics, and engines,” said Tech Sgt. Nasir Ahmad, 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief. “All those shops work on getting the jet ready, but it’s the crew chief that checks behind each shop to make sure that the systems are ready go.”

    Ahmad mentioned that they also review the aircraft and its forms prior to each launch with the aircrew. Crew chiefs follow specific technical orders for each aircraft, along with after action reports that aircrews provide for specific adjustments. The responsibility to keep the Lancer mission ready does not rely solely on one Airman.

    “It’s hard to have a personal impact to the mission because we all work as a team to get the jets ready for aircrews,” said Ahmad. “Out here, it’s a whole team working towards the same goal; as a team we are all effective.”

    Understanding the daily operations of what these crew chiefs accomplish is sometimes difficult to put into words. But if you ask just one B-1 maintenance Airman working out on the flight line, you can hear the sincere and proud inflection resonate in their voices when they talk about their job.

    “It’s kind of like NASCAR; you’re really the pit crew. You change tires, service the oil, a lot of different odd jobs, check over wing faring seals, refuel the jet, and taxi it out,” said Airman 1st Class James Balcom, 37th AMU crew chief.

    These young airmen of the BONES crew embrace the mission on a daily basis with a smile on their faces while making memories both with their friends and their aircraft. They maintain radio contact with each aircrew to make sure aircraft are launched successfully. If the aircrews return to base with issues, crew chiefs are always the first to know. Ahmad mentioned that the best part of his job is being at the end of the runway watching the aircraft ‘take-off’. He is not the only crew chief that sees his hard work pay off.

    “I love my job, more so than being here. When you see those jets coming back with empty bays, you know you did something,” said Balcom. ”You’re working for freedom, helping America out, and dropping bombs.”


    Date Taken: 09.23.2015
    Date Posted: 09.25.2015 04:33
    Story ID: 177177
    Location: AL UDEID AIR BASE, QA

    Web Views: 138
    Downloads: 1