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Powering the Fight

  • Published
  • By United States Air Force story by Airman 1st Class Amir Young
  • 36 Wg/PA

If you ask any Airman in the 36th Maintenance Squadron’s Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight to describe their role in one word, it would be “Integral”. The mission of an AGE technician is the maintenance, inspection and dispatch of over 650 pieces of unique equipment essential to everyday Andersen AFB operations.

“We provide power equipment to facilitate maintenance and airflow for the air frames out on the flightline,” said Master Sgt. Cassandra Zoffoli, 36th Maintenance Squadron’s AGE superintendent, “Everything from powering up the generators to providing stands to the maintainers so they can reach the tail or get onto the wings of the plane for repairs.”

The AGE profession requires extensive hands on work and familiarity with various types of machinery. This machinery is essential to the role that Andersen plays in the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence.

“If Airmen need a tire change on an aircraft, they have to somehow lift the plane off the ground,” said Zoffoli, “The same thing goes for loading bombs onto B-52s.”

Resilience is another big part of the job of an AGE technician. The Air Force is an ever changing machine which requires the maintainers to be prepared for anything.

“There are a lot of new pieces of equipment being brought in which makes the older models obsolete,” Zoffoli said, “We now need to learn how to fix those older models as best as we can until the new models arrive. Our job then continues to evolve into more in-depth maintenance on these old parts as well as the new ones that come in.”

The training program on Andersen AFB is a rigorous one that is aimed to prepare Airmen for any situation in their new environment. The on the job training covers things from Foreign Object Debris walks, up to the removal and reconstruction of generator engines.

“There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with our job,” said Senior Airmen Ryan Merritt, 36th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment technician, “The training is super detailed so that way our Airmen know what to do in those dangerous situations and they also learn how things work correctly.”

Andersen AFB is unique because the base lacks a permanent airframe. This means, AGE technicians can potentially work on any of the Aircraft in Air Force.

“Each Air Frame uses a different piece of equipment,” said Merritt, “Our training has to be flexible to encompass each type of machine or generator that we use. In order to be prepared and efficient, a lot of work is required from everyone in the shop.”

The job of an Aerospace Ground Equipment Technician is one that requires everyone working to be versatile and flexible to keep the aircraft in the air and support Andersen’s CBP mission while and employing airpower across the entire pacific region.