MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Moody’s Attack-Rescue-Prevail mission wouldn’t be possible without safe, reliable aircraft — making Aircraft Metals Technology Airmen an essential element to Team Moody.
The 23rd Maintenance Squadron Metals Technology Fabrication Flight acts as the Air Force’s machinists and welders — from troubleshooting to final fitting. These skilled professionals weld, fabricate and custom-make components critical to the functioning of an aircraft.
“We’re kind of in the shadows always doing the quiet work, helping out where we can, but its overall helping the mission,” said Senior Airman Cameron Balon, 23rd MXS aircraft metals technician. “Having aircraft fly 24-7 is key to making the mission happen – its humbling to know that without the fabrication flight, nothing would fly. We know when we’re needed, it’s a really important task – fabricating, machining and having the ability to craft anything from nothing.”
Aircraft maintenance is inherently rigid. Airmen follow strict procedures to ensure effective operations of military systems. But Aircraft Metals Technology Airmen can have a little more flexibility to operate in a world of innovation ‐ they can create aircraft parts on the spot from scratch and provide a timely and cost-effective alternative to outside vendors.
For instance, they have requested original blueprints through the Air Force repository and contacted the engineers directly, expediting the metals fabrication process.
"With the A-10s becoming an aging fleet, their parts availability is scarce, so we get blueprints to fabricate parts that are no longer manufactured to fit back on aircraft and continue the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Earl Clark, 23rd MXS metals technology section chief. “We fill that gap between a supplier and the aircraft, saving the Air Force money at the end of the day.”
This process has saved the Air Force approximately $1.4 million last year alone.
“That’s the beauty of it,” Balon said. “I manufacture this part and go put it on the aircraft to allow this aircraft to fly and complete its mission.”
A-10 pilots require fully functioning aircraft in order to train or complete their missions. This wouldn’t be possible without the Metals Technology Airmen’s constant innovation to conquer obstacles while manufacturing parts.