Maintaining the Components at DM

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Vaughn Weber
  • 355 WG/PA

The 355th Component Maintenance Squadron is the lifeline for flight line squadrons and back shops at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 28, 2023.

The 355 Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron was constituted and activated on April 13, 1962. On Sept. 30, 2002, the 355th CMS officially came into being after going through one inactivation, one activation and two redesignations.

“The main mission here is Rescue and Attack. Within CMS, we are the support for the flight line,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Alan Wright, 355th CMS jet engine intermediate maintenance non-commissioned officer in charge, “For all the deployments, TDYs and training missions through the 357th Fighter Generation Squadron and 354th FGS, we help to serve as a lifeline for engine maintenance.”

Instead of aircraft and aircrew having to set up and teardown on the flight line, the 355th CMS propulsion and engines back shop offers an alternate streamline maintenance practice for engine swap outs. This helps fulfill the mission requirement of a quick turnaround.

At DM, the 355th CMS supports the 55th FGS’ and 79th FGS’ Allison T56 engines, as well as the 354th FGS’ and 357th FGS’ General Electric TF34 engines. In total, they support over 100 aircraft across four specialized airframes by replacing defective components, performing expert troubleshooting to determine aircraft faults and performing operational checks on parts and systems.

The 355th CMS is also the centralized repair facility for global strike command and other Air Combat Command components. Whiteman AFB, Missouri, Nellis AFB, Nevada and Hill AFB, Utah are among these. When these bases have engine issues that require more in depth maintenance, they send their engines to DM for repair.

“As aircraft fuel systems maintainers, we specialize in the troubleshooting and replacement of fuel systems components while also identifying and isolating aircraft fuel leaks,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Hammer, 355th CMS fuel systems support NCOIC, “What distinguishes us from work centers like the precision measurement equipment laboratory or props is that we routinely work inside of aircraft, performing in-tank maintenance.”

A fuel systems maintainer will don multiple layers of proper protective equipment before performing in-tank maintenance. The 2-foot tank opening on an HC-130J Combat King II aircraft or A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft is purged with air before an atmospheric air sample reading can be taken, ensuring the inside of the tank is safe to enter. Once it is safe, the fuel systems maintainer will crawl through the inner workings of the fuel tank to the component that needs replaced. After replacing the component, they exit feet first, seal the door, put fuel back in the tank and perform operational checks to ensure the aircraft is clear to return to service.

The 355th CMS keeps the fleet flying by finding and fixing the more in-depth problems on the flight line, in back shops and in fuel tanks.