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Airman 1st Class Benjamin Deachin, 96th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, turns on the external power source while conducting standard maintenance procedures for a B-52 Stratofortress at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Oct. 24, 2012. Airman Deachin is deployed to Andersen Air Force Base from Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos/Released)
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Barksdale Airmen join 36th EAMXS

Posted 11/5/2012   Updated 11/5/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs

11/5/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, comprised of members from the 96th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., is supporting the 96th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron, also from Barksdale AFB, here during their deployment.

The 36th EAMXS is deployed on Andersen to provide maintenance support to the B-52 Stratofortresses for the Continuous Bomber Presence.

The CBP is an ongoing effort by the U.S. Pacific Command to show the United States' commitment to the security and stability of the Pacific area of responsibility.

"I'd like to think that we are here to raise the bar a little bit higher than the previous maintenance unit," said Capt. Scott Eberle, 36th EAMXS officer in charge. "We believe that if better is possible, good is not enough."

Even though some of the 36th EAMXS Airmen have been on island before, most of the squadron's Airmen are still getting acclimated to the new environment.

"People have to understand that our living conditions here - the location, weather and the distance they have to travel to get from one place to another for work - are completely different from what we have back in Barksdale," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Hollister, 36th EAMXS crew chief expediter. "But as we get more accustomed, I know we have the capacity to exceed expectations."

Sergeant Hollister said that thinking ahead and expecting worst-case scenarios, such as sudden onset of strong wind and torrential rain, will help them be ready to perform maintenance that the B-52s may require in a tropical environment.

"We just need to remedy the situation as it requires," said Sergeant Hollister. "Like for weather, we just have to remember to keep the windows closed and aircraft sealed up."

Aside from the environmental changes, the Airmen are also getting accustomed to the fast-paced deployed environment and the amount of maintenance required on aircraft that are always on the go.

"We fly a lot more, which requires more maintenance," said Airman 1st Class Benjamin Deachin, 36th EAMXS dedicated crew chief. "The aircraft need to be fixed and ready right away. We do lot of the same work, but with less people and at a faster pace here. I also think our mission here has a higher purpose, especially since the Department of Defense's focus has shifted to the Asia-Pacific region."

In order to recognize the hard-working Airmen, the 96th EAMU will continue the "Nine-O-Nine" award that the 69th EAMU introduced to the 36th Maintenance Group. The award recognizes aircrews that accomplish 20 consecutive sorties without maintenance abort in a deployed location.

"I hope the majority of our Airmen will get the Nine-O-Nine award," said Sergeant Hollister. "Any recognition we can get - individually, as crews or as a unit - are important. Everyone plays their part to make sure the aircraft gets off the ground, so I would like to see all my guys be recognized, because they deserve it."

The unit prides themselves in cohesion. With the amount of time they spend together, they attribute their past and future successes to the harmony brought about by friendships that the Airmen have built within the unit.

"In order for us to work towards excellence, we need to be in sync," said Captain Eberle. "We try to work harmoniously, foster friendships and do so in a fashion that still maintains military discipline. We eat together, we work together and we live amongst each other in the dormitories and housing through the duration of this deployment. We will look back six months from now at the success of the 36th EAMXS, and we'll be able to attribute much of the success to the overall cohesion and morale of the unit."

As the Airmen of the 36th EAMXS grow as maintainers and as a unit during their deployment, the unit remains adamant in bringing the values that they have at Barksdale to their deployed location, upholding the maintenance standards that they set for themselves back home.

"We have high expectations," said Captain Eberle. "We expect excellence out of our Airmen and our aircraft, and in order to have both of those, we need to adhere to maintenance standards. We will work in a way that will reflect the motto of the 2nd Maintenance Group, our group back in Barksdale. 'Excellence is our standard and nothing else will suffice.'"

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