F-15s move to new home

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Center commander, congratulates F-15 workers, Ricky McGlon, left, and Anthony Cross, on their new maintenance home. They, along with Walter Smith and Darian Fordham, helped the general cut the ribbon at a ceremony Tuesday. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Center commander, congratulates F-15 workers, Ricky McGlon, left, and Anthony Cross, on their new maintenance home. They, along with Walter Smith and Darian Fordham, helped the general cut the ribbon at a ceremony Tuesday. U.S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander, and four F-15 workers cut the ribbon in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon to mark the completion of a move by the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron with their F-15 Eagles.

"This is a great day for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center," said General Owen. "This was a Center-wide effort. Thanks to the men and women of the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Every challenge was met head-on by the dedication and resourcefulness of the F-15 team."

General Owen said the move will allow additional work in excess of $50 million per year for Robins. It also removes the need to spend more than $17 million to build a new hangar.

The F-15s that go through repair, maintenance and modifications during the programmed depot maintenance cycle have moved from Bldg. 83 to Buildings 47, 48 and 49 to make room for C-17 and C-130 maintenance.

The move began in October and was completed in January, though planning spanned a year. The move resulted in a reduction of F-15 aircraft work in progress from 44 to 28, placing 16 additional aircraft in the hands of war fighters. Ten F-15 flow days are reduced, according to Mark Johnson, director of the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which repairs F-15s. That's ten fewer days to get the aircraft through programmed depot maintenance.

Additional work for the C-130 and C-17 repair crews means more workers will be hired to handle the load.

"The move means there will be additional space to handle the work, and workers are being hired as new work comes in," said Ed Montano, director of the 562nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which oversees C-17 maintenance.

C-130 center wing box replacement and C-130J work, together with additional combat loss rollout aircraft for special operations forces, mean the C-130s will definitely see an increase. Over the next three years there will be a growth of 500,000 man hours.

"Where 116 workers did the job a little over a year ago, the workforce will grow to 400 by the end of this year." said Mr. Montano.

In Bldg. 83, formerly home to the F-15, six C-130s will take up half the floor space. The rest will be occupied by two C-17s. Mr. Montano said the C-17 will see an additional 700 mechanics hired by 2010 if all the workload comes in.

"It's important to celebrate what we've been able to accomplish with this move," said Mr. Johnson. "It's more than just aircraft; it's plant services civil engineering, contracting, and everyone working together toward a common goal. We will be able to work on more aircraft with our additional hangar space."

"Everyone who comes here every day, working hard, using Lean tools and who make the continuous process improvements that result in this effort becoming a reality will soon see the benefit of what they have done," said Mr. Johnson.