Behind the Tankers:

There is a “back shop” in Southwest Asia that provides the essential repair of the Air Force’s vital aerial refueling force on the spot, working a “non-stop mission,” says TSgt. Jon Shumard, deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron from Grand Forks AFB, N.D. The central intermediate repair facility repairs and replaces 30 to 50 brakes per month for the highly used KC-135 force, which average about 250 landings on a brake. If it weren’t for the tanker back shop, the aircraft would sit idle for 15 days or so waiting for replacements from back home. Shumard called their work “a direct impact on the mission,” saying that it gives the tanker maintainers “a tremendous amount of job satisfaction.” Hydraulics craftsman SSgt. Charles Crespo, deployed from MacDill AFB, Fla., is on his fourth deployment, and another, SSgt. Mark Hughes, is on his second. (379th AEW report by SrA. Carolyn Viss)