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ANG maintenance team combines experience during MG23

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 130 Airmen assigned to four wings across the Connecticut, Montana, and Missouri Air National Guard united to form the C-130 Hercules Force Element here during Mobility Guardian 23, July 5-21, 2023.

Fifty-eight maintainers assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, 120th AW, 103rd AW, and Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center school house, ensured three aircraft were air-worthy to move passengers and cargo from Yokota Air Base to locations across the Indo-Pacific region including Japan Air Self-Defense Force bases including as Yakumo Sub Base and Komaki Air Base.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our maintenance folks. They absolutely crushed it,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Linden, 103rd Airlift Wing, Connecticut ANG and C-130 Force Element commander during MG23. “They worked together fantastically to generate airpower every day. Which enabled flyers like me to go step to a plane and fly the mission.”

Airmen of various specialties and skill levels worked together to conduct inspections and routine maintenance for two variants of the C-130H Hercules throughout the exercise, using the Multi-Capable Airmen concept to work emerging issues. The MCA concept emphasizes Airmen accomplishing tasks not traditionally performed in their career fields, promoting flexibility to executing mission requirements.

“I’ve learned a lot not just working with other units, but working with my own unit back shops,” said Airman 1st Class Gavin McCabe, 103rd Maintenance Squadron, Connecticut ANG crew chief. “Just the other day I was up in the engine doing something I wouldn’t normally do. They had to replace an igniter, and as I watched I learned something new. I’ve learned something new every day here.”

From Airmen like McCabe to supervisors and superintendents, exercise participants were able to sharpen their skills and broaden their knowledge while working together.

“It was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to work with the Connecticut [ANG] on other occasions before and Missouri has been nothing short of top notch,” said Master Sgt. Lee Dresch, 120th Airlift Wing aircraft hydraulic shop chief, Montana ANG. “It was a great opportunity to compare notes of how each unit does business. The crosstalk helped us improve processes from a different perspective. I hope our team gained insight on their adaptability when faced with adversity and experienced personal growth as Multi-Capable Airmen.”

Second Lt. Alana Phillips, 103d Maintenance Operations Flight commander and Yokota AB’s MG23 C-130 Force Element officer-in-charge, said the exercise’s challenges made employing the MCA concept vital to mission success.

“MG23 was ideal to practice MCA concepts because of the dynamic we were placed in,” said Phillips. “Part of the intent of this exercise was to be able to accomplish the mission without having much support, so it gave us the opportunity to build a model where our specialists could actively learn and perform MCA concepts throughout the exercise in support of the mission.”

From enabling airlift to working with the host nation of Japan, Linden said he is proud of what his team was able to accomplish, and hopes his able to is team was able to grow personally and professionally from the experience.

“I think that’s something the Guard brings to the fight … that experience level,” said Linden. “Our maintainers will remember working together with other units, seeing new props and engines, and generating tails for Mobility Guardian. They will be telling these stories for a long time to come.”

A multilateral endeavor, MG23 featured seven participating countries – Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States – operating approximately 70 mobility aircraft across multiple locations spanning a 3,000-mile exercise area.