48th CMS develops ACE capabilities

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The 48th Fighter Wing’s mission is to provide worldwide superior air combat capabilities. The routine daily training of pilots and Airmen contributes to the success of that mission, but in order to stay sharp, it’s important to step outside the realm of familiarity and face the challenge of mastering new skills and enhancing mission readiness.

Airmen from the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron fuels systems maintenance recently completed two stages of training that contribute to the Agile Combat Employment initiative.

During the training, the Airmen became qualified on the installation and removal of the external fuel tanks and aircraft towing, duties that were traditionally performed only by 48th Maintenance Group crew chiefs.

The ACE concept strives to create a force of Airmen who are capable of performing multiple roles outside the scope of their regular daily duties, thus enabling faster, more efficient action against potential threats from a contested environment. Creating a more multi-capable force of Airmen also reduces the amount of manpower needed to deploy on short notice.

“These initiatives reduce aircraft downtime by allowing the fuels section to have control of the aircraft when required for fuel system maintenance,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Williams, Fuel Systems Non-commissioned Officer in Charge. “It gives us an opportunity to take on a more active role on the flightline.”

The fuel systems maintenance shop supports flightline operations through the inspection and repair of fuel lines and structures that contribute to the storage and distribution of fuel on all aircraft at the 48th FW. They are also responsible for the inspection, repair, and tracking of external fuel tanks and F-15E Strike Eagle conformal fuel tanks.

“This training gave the fuel systems maintenance shop and the ACE initiative two more tools to enable a more agile unit,” said Williams. “This makes us one of the most versatile sections in the wing.”

Proficiency in a multitude of skills allows Airmen across the U.S. Air Force to more efficiently and effectively respond to unique scenarios and potential threats.

“Qualification on these tasks increases the fuel shop Airmen’s maintenance skills, enhances their knowledge of the aircraft, and their efficiency in task completion,” said Williams.

48th CMS Airmen are now more independent and have more flexibility to keep their mission running smoothly through the lessons embraced by their newly acquired skill set. Implementation of ACE concepts throughout the 48th Fighter Wing will streamline processes, cut down on manpower, and keep the Liberty Wing ready to deliver worldwide responsive combat airpower and support to the European Theater.