April 30, 2008 (by A1C Rachel Kocin) - Holloman recently said goodbye to the F-117A Nighthawk and the time has now come to prepare for the arrival of the F-22A Raptor.
"One of the projects we have going on is phasing out tools used exclusively for the F-117. "Then phasing in, getting our support section spun up with the F-22 equipment and tools," said Chief Master Sgt. James Harris, chief of the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
There is a big self help project called the West Area Revitalization Team, said Maj. Bryan Bobeck, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Maintenance Operations Officer. The 49th Maintenance Group is running full steam doing everything from replacing floors to painting, to actually building offices and completing roofing jobs.
"There is a lot of work that has to be done and it's kept our folks employed and has actually helped the 49th Civil Engineering Squadron with taking some of the burden of all the work orders," said Major Bobeck. "That has been a huge effort that has saved thousands of dollars and has helped the MXG improve not only the appearance of its facilities but its functionality as well."
Since there are no jets on Holloman, a lot will be done to occupy the maintainers time while waiting for the arrival of the F-22. Also a lot has to be done to get the maintainers spun up with the F-22.
"There will be formal training, computer based training, and on the job training," said Chief Harris. "The biggest portion will be on the job training."
Initially the F-22A Cadre from Langley and other bases will conduct the on the job training. The Cadre is a group of F-22A experienced people, designated to stay on Holloman. Once the F-22 Cadre train Holloman personnel on the F-22A, the maintainers can then in-turn train more maintainers.
With the recent mission change, there are many things being done to occupy the maintainer's down time at work.
"The maintainers will be given more opportunities to get off duty education," said Chief Master Sgt. John Cline, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Superintendent. They will also have chances to get more involved with the community, something maintainers usually find difficult due to their demanding work schedules and shift changes.