May 28, 2007 (by Carissa Morgan) - Two F-22s visited Andersen recently following their first-ever overseas deployment. For the transient alert maintenance crews, it was their first opportunity to work with the Air Force's newest fighter.
A Transient Alert maintenance technician examines F-22A Raptor no. 04-4066 following its arrival May 10th, 2007. [USAF photo by Maj. David Boles]
According to Glen Walker, the contract manager for the 36th Maintenance Squadron's transient alert section, the F-22s arrival proved that the section is ready to handle any challenge.
The F-22 only needed to be refueled and the normal ground servicing said Mr. Walker. Transient alert has several responsibilities when an aircraft arrives, according to Mr. Walker.
The section members recover the aircraft, accommodate the crew of the aircraft by ensuring it has everything it needs, and they brief the crew if there was anything wrong with the aircraft, said Mr. Walker
The incoming F-22 provided a learning experience for transient alert personnel. "It gives us good experience," said Cashmere Antes, aircraft services for transient alert. "We are the first ones to respond to the unexpected landings because there is always possibility of fuel leaks among other things. It's always good to get experience."
With new machinery, especially one as advanced as the F-22, came doubts, said Mr. Walker.
"The anticipation, until you've actually had experience with a specific aircraft, can be daunting," he said. "Now that we've handled an F-22, it takes out that question mark; we know what we are dealing with instead of wondering."
"We know now what to expect," said Mr. Antes. "The F-22 was much simpler to work on than F-15s or F-16s. It's a relief to know that."
"Unexpected arrivals are good for training purposes," added Mr. Walker.
"These unexpected divert arrivals showed us what we have to deal with," he said. "We are prepared for it, and it helps us to know how to handle each situation."
Mr. Walker said he enjoyed the experience.
"I'm glad they did stop here," he said. "From now on we will have valid expectations for the next time a F-22 visits Andersen."