HomeNewsArticle Display

Painting squadron pride

Senior Airman Paul Gatlin, an aircraft structural maintenance technician with the 49th Maintenance Squadron, finishes taping off the vertical stabilizer of the 54th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Fighting Falcon flagship at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 10, 2015. Corrosion control specialists have the unique task of ensuring every aircraft on base is able to withstand deterioration caused by the weather. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Randahl J. Jenson)

Senior Airman Paul Gatlin, an aircraft structural maintenance technician with the 49th Maintenance Squadron, finishes taping off the vertical stabilizer of the 54th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Fighting Falcon flagship at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 10, 2015. Corrosion control specialists have the unique task of ensuring every aircraft on base is able to withstand deterioration caused by the weather. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Randahl J. Jenson)

Airmen 1st Class Robert Rocha (left) and Ryan Magusiak, aircraft structural maintenance technicians with the 49th Maintenance Squadron, tape off the tail of the 54th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Fighting Falcon flagship in preparation for painting at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 10, 2015. Corrosion control specialists stripped, primed and painted every flagship tail, replacing the Luke AFB symbol “LF” with Holloman’s symbol “HO.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Randahl J. Jenson)

Airmen 1st Class Robert Rocha (left) and Ryan Magusiak, aircraft structural maintenance technicians with the 49th Maintenance Squadron, tape off the tail of the 54th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Fighting Falcon flagship in preparation for painting at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 10, 2015. Corrosion control specialists stripped, primed and painted every flagship tail, replacing the Luke AFB symbol “LF” with Holloman’s symbol “HO.” (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Randahl J. Jenson)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- When it comes to taking care of the F-16 Fighting Falcons at Holloman Air Force Base, aircraft structural maintenance technicians have a major responsibility.

As corrosion experts, they strip and re-paint F-16 tails -- replacing Luke AFB's "LF" with Holloman's "HO."

"The letters on the tail are designators for what Air Force base you're assigned," said Staff Sgt. Gregory Liggins, the assistant NCO in charge of corrosion control with the 49th Maintenance Squadron. "There's a lot that goes into replacing them."

Recently, the 54th Fighter Squadron's F-16 flagship experienced the swap as Airmen sanded down the vertical stabilizer, primed it for painting and gave the aircraft a fresh coat of paint along with brand new decals and local markings.

"This is the most important jet on base," Liggins said. "It represents the wing as well as the 54th Fighter Group. There's no other jet like it on this base, and that's why it's decorated the way it is."

Replacing everything on the tail of an aircraft is an extensive process requiring attention to detail and patience.

"The whole process takes roughly five days," said Airman 1st Class Robert Rocha, an aircraft structural maintenance technician with the 49th MXS.

Rocha, who joined the Air Force to learn how to work with sheet metal, and other Airmen who share his passion, inspect every aircraft twice a year for corrosion. After an aircraft's semiannual mandatory washing, they are taxied into one of three paint booths where the corrosion experts conduct a paint score.

"When an aircraft comes in, we're required to do a paint score," Liggins said. "Basically, we're walking around the jet looking at areas that have bare metal, chipped paint and primer spots. Then we check the thickness of the paint with a gauge. We update all of this information for planning, scheduling and documentation."

Once the average paint thickness on a jet is worn too thin, the entire aircraft has to be sandblasted and repainted. The technicians at corrosion control do any painting the aircraft needs short of this. Touch ups, replacing symbols and anything that will fight deterioration are just a few things these Airmen do.

"These guys here are outstanding," Liggins said. "They follow instructions, and they have attention to detail, which is key. A lot has been put on them, but they step up to the challenge."

Every job in the Air Force contributes to the overall mission. For the Airmen in the aircraft structural maintenance shop, this means keeping the aircraft in prime shape and able to withstand the elements.

"We're all one big oiled machine," Liggins said. "In the end, we're the ones who have the biggest responsibility when it comes to protecting the aircraft from corrosion."

Engage

Twitter
Know what resources, treatments & therapies are available for invisible wounds. https://t.co/H2A7fYb8s3
Twitter
“The Total Force team at Eielson plays a pivotal role that extends throughout Alaska and projects into the Arctic.”… https://t.co/7nSYEtYWHj
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: 🙌🎉 Congrats to the @usairforce's newest pilots as Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-18 graduates today at @…
Twitter
.@JointBasePHH Airmen participate in a ramp drop from a C-17 Globemaster III. The 25th Air Support Ops Squadron is… https://t.co/AZVT6Qzmgv
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is a pleasure to be in #Alaska to see #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals in action! Whether it’s F-35s & F-22s protectin…
Twitter
RT @EielsonAirForce: When @SecAFOfficial comes to visit, we show off the 'cool stuff' https://t.co/sGCSnVOOXg
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: A career worth a thousand words: Colonel Campbell reflects on career in aviation - https://t.co/atNAeYOoMI (Story by @Dobb
Twitter
The Air Force will host the Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower conference virtually August 24–27.… https://t.co/9pRjj6U1lp
Twitter
A Rocket Propelled Grenade was launched at a Dyess AFB C-130J in September 2019. The Airmen had to respond quickly! https://t.co/fgfNkCjA4a
Twitter
#DYK The UH-1N has a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer) and is capable of flight in instrument and… https://t.co/Qcj74Tk4ra
Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein has left a lasting impression on @HollomanAFB. #DYK Among his many tours, he was once commander o… https://t.co/ET8q1w8ywO
Twitter
The United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy & 86th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters get advanced rescue… https://t.co/AUHlxm0nPt
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals at Clear Air Force Station and @EielsonAirForce Base for sharing their…
Twitter
#DYK The F-16A, a single-seat model, first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in Janu… https://t.co/B72dKcCrnr
Twitter
#DYK The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston… https://t.co/edfO5R1YEm
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: To the @PACAF Total Force #Airmen, thank you for your dedication to the mission and your spirit to serve. https://t.co…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: I have no doubt @PACAF will continue to grow & prosper under the steady & focused leadership of the #USAF’s newest 4-s…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: For the past 2 yrs, PACAF has transformed under Gen. Brown’s leadership with a new joint mission to deter aggression i…
Twitter
This technology keeps Airmen out of harm’s way when diffusing a bomb. One of the best opportunities to check out &… https://t.co/jWkN0Vbv6c
Twitter
RT @PACAF: Join us live July 8th, as Gen. CQ Brown Jr. relinquishes command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces to Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach. To vie…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,251,143
Follow Us