Spangdahlem augmentees learn F-16 fuel-tank build up

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  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Members from the 52nd Maintenance Squadron fuel-systems section familiarized base augmentees with performing a nestable fuel-tank build up at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Feb. 24, 2020.

NFTBU is a war-time capability supported and tasked through a unit type code and provides the 52nd Fighter Wing critical war-time skill and manning to produce F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft fuel tanks for real-world operations.

“As United States Air Forces in Europe’s only suppression of enemy air defense fighter squadron, it is our job to carry out the 52nd FW’s mission of generating combat airpower in an austere environment and deter aggressors,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Nixon, 52nd MXS fuel-systems craftsman. “Having these augmentees trained will help our fuel-system repair section by strengthening our manpower when generating nestable fuel tanks to aid in this effort.”

During a deployment or exercise, fuel tanks are transported in a broken-down state in caskets and then assembled from scratch where they are needed.

“Once we land at whatever location we are assigned, we will be required to generate tanks at a rapid pace,” Nixon said. “Being able to walk through the process of building nestable fuel tanks and answering questions now in a controlled environment will prepare the augmentees tremendously.”

Although it is not a new UTC requirement, the fuel-systems shop is beefing up the NFTBU augmentee program to be more capable.

“We are working to ensure that there is a more robust program, upgrading tools and equipment as well as training more individuals as we go through the training scenarios,” said Master Sgt. Robert Nichols, 52nd MXS aircraft fuel-systems section chief.

The familiarization allowed Airmen a chance to see various processes of NFTBU, practice in a training environment with the instructors, and become proficient in the event they were deployed.

“The overall goal of the event is to allow the fuel-systems technicians to teach what they have learned through their training to the augmentees, identifying any limiting factors now before being tasked to execute in a real-world environment,” Nichols said.

Augmentees worked outside of their career field and took interest in learning a new side of the mission.

“To be able to delve more into how this amazing jet works, it’s pretty great,” said Alias Smith, 52nd MXS avionics integrated systems apprentice. “It takes people out of their comfort zone and teaches them new skills, not just whatever their job is, but Air Force in general. I’m enjoying learning new things”