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Selfridge Airmen maintain combat readiness

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe reviews a technical order for a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe reviews a technical order for a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine alongside Staff Sgt. Chris Fisher, at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe works on a T34 engine alongside Staff Sgt. Chris Fisher, at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., June 6, 2020. The T34 is used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to Selfridge. Kolbe was receiving upgrade training as a jet propulsion specialist with the 127th Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

In the first drill weekend since the coronavirus pandemic, Staff Sgt. Andrew Kolbe got checked out in the basics of the T34 turbofan jet engine, used on the A-10 Thunderbolt II at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.

The training -- and the combat readiness -- of the Michigan Air National Guard has continued throughout the course of the pandemic. Social distancing, remote work and similar measures continue to be taken, but that has not stopped the 127th Wing from maintaining its tradition as America's Minutemen.

For Kolbe, a former jet engine mechanic on F-16 Fighting Falcons with the Ohio Air National Guard, that meant getting checked out on his new engines. As he and his trainer, Staff Sgt. Chris Fisher, worked in the engine shop, A-10s could be heard spooling up on the flight line, ready for the afternoon "go." On the other side of the world, another team of Selfridge-based Guardsman from the base's KC-135 Stratotanker units are on duty in the Middle East. Readiness continues in ways both small and large.

And for Kolbe, that meant getting checked out in the T34.

"Obviously, there's a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences between the two," Kolbe said.

The 127th Propulsion Element keeps one T34 on a stand to be used for training purposes. Staff Sgt. Chris Fisher was working with Kolbe on the training.

"Initially, its spending time checking a few things on the engine, just familiarizing yourself with where everything is located," Fisher said.

For the Airmen of the 127th Wing, the training -- and the mission -- continues, even unusual times.

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