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    Beale’s Sheet Metal Shop: A Link in the Chain of American Airpower

    Beale’s Sheet Metal Shop: A Link in the Chain of American Airpower

    Photo By Tech. Sgt. Samuel Burns | U.S. Air Force Airman Luis Carcamo-Blanco, 9th Maintenance Squadron aircraft...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Burns 

    9th Reconnaissance Wing

    BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - In ancient times, blacksmiths morphed metal to create the tools and weapons that won wars. Today, Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) Airmen continue that tradition by forging strength in the modern skies.

    The 9th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) ASM shop is responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of Beale’s U-2 Dragon Lady’s and T-38 Talons. Every day, their world revolves around inspecting and restoring all structural damage to ensure the aircraft retains its original strength.

    The ASM flight is one of many links in the maintenance chain that generates airpower, and it is imperative that each chain carries its weight.

    “Our section collaborates with various maintenance shops to ensure safe and reliable maintenance practices,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Abner Alcontin, 9th MXS ASM section chief. “This collaboration allows us to return our aircraft to full mission capability as quickly as possible, ensure the safety of our pilots, and enable our jets to be constantly prepared to deter and defeat our near-peer adversaries.”

    During post-flight inspections, crew chiefs look for any punctured aircraft skin or cracked frames. Any defects are then passed along to ASM, where the damage is repaired by installing replacement parts or fabricating similar parts based on blueprints.

    Efficient maintenance practices between the 9th MXS and the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) also lead to minimizing costly repairs, and maximizing the lifespan of the aircraft. Since the world of maintenance can be unpredictable, ASM Airmen must remain flexible while also focusing on preparedness.

    “In this job, flexibility is our backbone,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Trevor James, 9th MXS ASM journeyman. “From routine checks to unexpected repairs, we adapt to ensure our aircraft flies safely. Our training prepares us for any scenario, cultivating a versatile skill set that can handle basic maintenance to sudden emergencies.”

    In addition to the U-2s on base, Beale’s ASM flight provides support to forward operation locations which assists multiple Combatant Commands. Beale’s ASM Airmen deploy worldwide, enabling the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission by ensuring each aircraft remains airworthy.

    Other responsibilities of Beale’s ASM flight are the corrosion control section, where U-2 wheels are sandblasted and repainted after the Non-Destructive Inspections shop checks for cracks and other damage. They also provide structural repairs to the T-38 Talons, contributing to pilot training operations.

    As one of many maintenance shops that must play their role, ASM directly impacts Beale’s ability to get their aircraft airborne, and carry out the ISR mission every day.



    Date Taken: 04.12.2024
    Date Posted: 04.12.2024 17:53
    Story ID: 468477

    Web Views: 54
    Downloads: 0