News Search


Midnight Maintainers

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Peter Reft
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
For many, the setting sun marks the end of a day at work and the start of a good night’s rest. For swing shift aircraft maintainers, however, they’re only getting started as they expose internal wiring and cables of F-15 Eagles for a long night of non-stop service and repairs.

Maintainers of the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit swing shift pick up right where day shift leaves off, continuing Kadena’s mission readiness capability.

“If a jet is flying during the daytime and comes back with broken parts, our guys are here to fix it. Hard maintenance and servicing gets done during swing shift, and we inspect the jet to make sure it’s airworthy for the next flight,” said Master Sgt. Jan Llarenas, 67th AMU production superintendent.

Swing shift and middle shift maintainers work on every cable, electronic system, nut and bolt on the aircraft.

“Maintenance ranges anywhere from servicing liquid oxygen, power tests, completing forms for the next day, to changing out parts, and engine bay servicing,” said Staff Sgt. Chaz Henrich, 67th AMU dedicated crew chief.

Without dedication from maintainers working through the night, the flying mission would be adversely impacted.

“We cannot turn jets without 24-hour coverage because there’s no way you can get everything done in time. Day shift is where the flying happens, and then we come in crossing all the t’s, dotting all the i’s, making sure jets are prepared for the next day,” said Henrich.

Each maintenance shift has the ability to launch jets at a moment’s notice, ensuring constant mission readiness.

“Every shift is flexible where we can make stuff happen,” Henrich said. “When I was deployed, they flew 24-hour ops and jets were going up and down regardless of the shifts. You adapt to whatever situation you’re given, work with it, and make it happen.”

While it doesn’t quite operate at deployment tempo, Kadena’s air power stays ready for any possible threats in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

“For preparedness we’re 100 percent,” Llarenas said. “In our last exercise we generated more than 20 aircraft within 24 hours, fully-loaded and ready to go, so I believe we are really prepared for anything that may come our way.”

Llarenas appreciates the dedication to excellence his Airmen demonstrate on the flightline.

“They are absolutely phenomenal, and these guys are out here working all day and night in the elements, through rain, through heat, and anything else,” said Llarenas.

He believes the teamwork among his Airmen is the key to their success in maintaining Kadena’s mission.

“You can’t think about yourself,” Llarenas said. “You gotta think about everybody as a whole, a lot of people here get along and they build that bond, that’s what makes them perform so well.”