KC-135 aircraft maintainers around the Air Force work as hard as their aircraft charges, performing periodic inspection and maintenance on each operational aircraft. This is base-level work, not depot. USAF journalist A1C Ashley Coomes reports that the 319th Maintenance Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kan., has 22 specialists—jet mechanics, electricians, hydraulics, and structural maintainers—working on one aircraft at a time. They work in four zones—cockpit, left wing, right wing, and rear—over a five-day period. TSgt. John Scheuer, an inspection craftsman at McConnell, told Coomes that the annual, week-long inspection enables the squadron to “fix any potential problems and reduce down time.” Air Force leaders in recent testimony on Capitol Hill credited the service’s maintainers with keeping the oldest fleet in USAF history flying. (Read more about tanker Hill talk here.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.