Maintainer camaraderie leads to strategic deterrence in the Indo Pacific

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Pugh

96th Bomb Squadron aircraft maintainers have been supporting the Bomber Task Force mission out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to ensure a combat ready force is prepared to respond to any threat in the Indo-Pacific.

“The B-52 bomber's presence in the Pacific is incredibly important,” said Tech. Sgt. Rafael Padin-Gonzalez, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “Wherever the B-52 goes, maintainers are necessary to make the jet fly. That is the aircraft maintainer’s role in strategic deterrence.”

While supporting the Bomber Task Force, the operations tempo drastically increases compared to operations stateside. The increased tempo places a greater emphasis on the role of aircraft maintainers, who are responsible for keeping the B-52 Stratofortress operational and mission-capable.

Working in a forward deployed location also gives maintenance crews the ability to develop their skills further and learn to adapt in any environment.

“Everybody benefits from the unique experience, and we build upon our skill set quite fast while deployed out here.” said Senior Airman Zachary Tulson, 96th Bomb Squadron communications/navigation systems specialist.

The invaluable experience gained on Bomber Task Force missions ensures Air Force Global Strike Command units are ready to facilitate the B-52’s signature long range strike capability in any real combat scenario.

“The B-52 is not only a deterrent for all of our adversaries, but also reassures our allies and partners,” said Tulson. “It requires everybody to be trained and able to support the mission in order to keep these jets in the sky.”