Bend That Metal:

A Total Force group of airmen deployed to Balad AB, Iraq, fabricate varied aircraft parts and ground equipment from scratch. SrA. Michelle Santos, a Reservist deployed from Homestead ARB, Fla., knows the value of the “metal techs.” She says: “Without us there would be a lot of aircraft downtime due to shipping. Instead of waiting a month for a bushing or for a gear, you’re waiting maybe a day.” They have computer-aided lathes and milling machines, plasma cutters, welding apparatus, and precision measuring tools in their arsenal, reports SrA. Olufemi Owolabi. Currently serving with Santos are other Air Force Reserve Command airmen and active duty airmen from Misawa AB, Japan.