BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado --
They depart with the Rocky Mountains on their shoulder and travel at supersonic speeds up to 1,500 miles per hour. The F-16 Fighting Falcons are mission ready, accomplishing over 2,900 sorties and 4,000 flight hours per year.
To ensure each sortie begins and ends with sound maintenance, members of the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Maintenance Group are there ready to assess over 20 highly maneuverable F-16s from the moment the aircraft lands.
“We follow technical orders step by step to accomplish maintenance tasks and repairs, as well as operational checks and tests,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Blomgren, 140th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief.
For every thundering departure from the runway at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, an F-16 receives hours of maintenance and pre-flight checks to ensure the safety and success of the mission.
“By doing so, it ensures the maintenance task is safe for both the maintainer and aircraft, effectively clearing it for takeoff and flight,” added Blomgren.
The 140th MXG comprises Airmen with an array of specialties charged with fixing all issues that arise with the aircraft. Whether an avionics specialist, crew chief or hydraulics specialist, these maintenance Airmen, or maintainers, were specifically chosen for their specialty and skill set, and undertake any tasks that fall within their domain.
“Each shop has their own individual craftsmanship and specialty,” said Blomgren. “Just like the human body utilizes every muscle working in conjunction to perform daily routines, every shop works together seamlessly to successfully keep the mission moving forward.”
Over the past few decades, the mission of the installation may have changed numerous times, but the maintainers have been a constant – the flightline at Buckley AFB has roots that can be traced to over sixty years ago.
“The mission of the 140th MXG is to develop ready, trained and disciplined Airmen who produce combat-capable aircraft and equipment for maximum lethality to ensure national security of America and our allies,” said Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Driver II, 140th Maintenance Operations Flight superintendent. “We continually strive to be a model maintenance group within the U.S. Air Force!”
Today, Buckley AFB serves a multitude of different units with different missions and skillsets. From the individual service member to the President, each component of the armed forces must work together to defend the nation and deter our adversaries.
“I enjoy being part of something bigger than myself – every time I see my aircraft take off, I know I played a big part in making the mission successful,” remarked Blomgren. “I take great pride in what I do and the abilities of my fellow guardsmen.”