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Moody A-10 engine maintainers make history

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Cohen, 23d Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, scans the components of a TF-34 jet engine during an inspection, May 24, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. QA inspectors ensure that aviation assets conform to established requirements throughout their life cycle for maximum serviceability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Cohen, 23rd Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, scans the components of an A-10C Thunderbolt II TF34 engine during a QA inspection, May 24, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. For the first time, in August 2018, the 23rd MXS propulsion flight ensured every TF34 engine in their fleet was repaired to serviceable status with zero required maintenance work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Vasquez, 23d Maintenance Squadron (MXS) aerospace propulsion technician, inspects the fuel lines of a Turbo-Fan (TF)-34 engine, May 16, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The 23d MXS propulsion flight’s mission is to ensure that the A-10C Thunderbolt II TF-34 engine is in satisfactory condition before it’s even installed on the aircraft. This flight is responsible for the overall upkeep and maintenance of all TF-34 engines for the Air Force’s largest operational A-10 fighter group. (U.S. Air Force Base photo by Airman 1st Class Eugene Oliver)

Airman 1st Class Jordan Vasquez, 23rd Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician, inspects the fuel lines of an A-10C Thunderbolt II TF34 engine, May 16, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. For the first time, in August 2018, the 23rd MXS propulsion flight ensured every TF34 engine in their fleet was repaired to serviceable status with zero required maintenance work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eugene Oliver)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- For the first time, Moody’s 23rd Maintenance Squadron’s propulsion flight accomplished an unprecedented feat by ensuring every TF34 engine in their fleet is repaired to serviceable status.

This readiness level relinquishes the need for the flight to perform maintenance on their current A-10C Thunderbolt II engine assets. While they normally maintain the 74th and 75th Aircraft Maintenance Unit’s engines in support of Moody’s close-air support mission, the backshop will now centralize their TF34 repair efforts to assist other bases and Major Commands to include Reserve and National Guard units.

This has allowed the 23rd MXS to play a vital role in helping secure an Air Force-wide 200 percent ‘war-ready’ engine status, the highest in the TF34’s 40-year history.

“I’m excited for every member of this team,” said Master Sgt. Cevin Medley, 23rd MXS propulsion flight chief. “This is my third base and engine backshop. Repairing an entire TF34 engine fleet to serviceable status (with zero required maintenance) is something I have only “heard” about in my 17 years.

“This (accomplishment) is important because it not only allows us to meet our minimum deployment requirements, but we also can support other operations if every (Moody AFB) A-10 aircraft were to be tasked to deploy,” Medley added. “Since our ‘war-ready’ engine levels have been so high, we have been able to help the rest of the Air Force’s TF34 community with their due engine repairs.”

The 23rd MXS propulsion flight manages WREs, which are engines that are ready to be installed on the A-10. Of their entire fleet, 14 are spare WREs, which surpasses Air Combat Command’s required level of five spare WREs. The flight’s 280 percent spare WRE rate has enabled the backshop to currently perform no current maintenance on their assets and have rebuilt seven engines in total from outside Moody.

The road to pursue this challenge wasn’t easy. An innovative process, known as the Continuous Process Improvement, positioned the flight to have a chance at history. In 2017, approximately 20 civilians and Airmen from almost every enlisted rank implemented ideas to help the flight better maintain the TF34 engine.

“(Last year’s) Continuous Process Improvement event allowed us to identify waste in our streamline,” said Medley. “This enabled us to shave an average of 58 work hours off each engine visit. This allowed us to go from six awaiting maintenance engines, which is the amount of engines we didn’t have the manning to work because we were repairing other engines in 2016, to where we are today.”

In order to reach new heights in maintenance proficiency, many small changes were made. The flight refocused training for new Airmen on common problems, began pre-ordering commonly needed engine parts, enhanced cross-unit and internal communication and even added updated photos to technical orders.

For Senior Airman Dakota Gunter, 23rd MXS aerospace propulsion technician, these new improvements paid big dividends for the backshop’s operations.

“The Continuous Process Improvement not only helped us (reduce) time on engine rebuilds, it also made the job a lot easier,” said Gunter. “Our processes have gone a lot smoother with everything from checking out tools to (performing) and documenting maintenance. Teamwork has been key during all of this, with everyone playing a key part to ensure the job is complete.”

According to Medley, the cohesion and continued support of not only the 23rd MXS, but the 23rd Maintenance Group supervision proved invaluable. He hopes to sustain their achievements and continue to assist in getting the rest of the Air Force’s TF34 fleet to match Moody’s readiness

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