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Kunsan maintainers give F-16 new wings

Staff Sgt. Dwight Hunter, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Armament Systems team chief, verifies connectors for a protective covering and proper routing of wires inside a wing as team members observe June 24, 2016 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Hunter and his team are working with other maintenance Air Force Specialty Codes on a simultaneous double wing replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Miller)

Staff Sgt. Dwight Hunter, an 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Armament Systems team chief, verifies connectors for a protective covering and proper routing of wires inside a wing as team members observe June 24, 2016, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Hunter and his team are working with other maintenance Air Force specialty codes on a simultaneous double-wing replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Miller)

An 8th Fighter Wing F-16 undergoes a simultaneous double-wing replacement at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, June 24, 2016. This procedure requires crew chiefs and maintainers from aircraft fuels systems, aircraft armament systems and aircraft structural maintenance working in harmony to ensure the replacement of the wings is done correctly and the aircraft is returned to duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Miller)

An 8th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon undergoes a simultaneous double-wing replacement at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, June 24, 2016. This procedure required crew chiefs and maintainers from aircraft fuels systems, aircraft armament systems and aircraft structural maintenance to work in harmony to ensure the replacement of the wings is done correctly and the aircraft is returned to duty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Miller)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- Airmen assigned to the 8th Maintenance Squadron and 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are tasked to ensure one aircraft is ready to fly, fight and win with a simultaneous double-wing replacement.

"Aircraft maintenance doesn't happen in one section; it takes the entire team, day in and day out,” said Senior Master Sgt. Casey Hall, the 8th AMXS lead production superintendent. “This double-wing change is a perfect example of how different sections in different squadrons all come together to make the mission happen."

This procedure requires crew chiefs and maintainers from aircraft fuels systems, aircraft armament systems and aircraft structural maintenance to work in harmony to ensure the replacement of the wings is done correctly and the aircraft is returned to duty.

Tech. Sgt. Rene St. Hilaire, an 8th MXS aircraft fuels system craftsman, has worked on F-16 Fighting Falcons for nine years and has been a part of four double-wing replacement procedures.

“For the Airmen here, it is a great training experience,” St. Hilaire said. “The team (members) working on this double-wing replacement have different experience levels with the F-16, and, for some, this is a once in a lifetime experience.”

While single replacements are common, a simultaneous double-wing replacement is rare, and the amount of maintainers with experience doing it is even rarer.

“When they told me it was a double-wing replacement on the same jet, it seemed kind of daunting,” said Staff Sgt. Dwight Hunter, an 8th AMXS aircraft armament systems team lead.

Considerable planning and preparation have to happen beforehand in order to embark on a project of this magnitude.

Senior Airman Samantha Cash, an 8th MXS aircraft fuels system journeyman, was part of the fuels systems team replacing the wings.

“You don’t see a double-wing change very often, so while the challenge is exciting, you have to do your research and make sure everyone knows their role and is comfortable in that role,” Cash said. “Cross talk between the different career fields is key to everyone being on the same page and that the steps required are completed so that the procedure can be done timely and correctly.”

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