ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron makes the parts that make many of the Air Force’s aircraft whole again for the mission.
Mechanics, machinists, plastic workers and more make up the more than 200-member team responsible for supporting weapon systems and manufacturing of parts on the F-15, C-5, C-17 and C-130 aircraft. Additionally, the squadron supports the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft and manufacture some parts for the F-18 aircraft.
In the event an emergency should arise, the unit also packs parachutes and life rafts for aircraft.
David Foskey, director of the 573rd CMXS, said his people’s broad scope of skills keep aircraft ready for the warfighting mission.
“Our overall mission is to expedite the manufacture of any parts needed to keep the required aircraft depot maintenance on schedule and return the aircraft back to the warfighter as quickly as possible to continue the support of our freedom,” he said.
Foskey said when the 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group performs its initial inspections of incoming aircraft, they identify parts that must be replaced. If these parts aren’t already in stock, his unit gets to work making parts to get the job done.
The 573rd CMXS’ efforts go far beyond Robins’ gates, providing aircraft parts worldwide to the Defense Logistics Agency that go into supply for other bases to draw out as needed.
Supporting a worldwide mission sometimes comes with its challenges, like older outdated equipment and material delays, including raw material, tooling, hardware and chemicals that may be needed.
“We overcome those challenges by working with Plant Services and Engineering to repair or replace our equipment,” Foskey said. “We have started receiving new world-class equipment that will eventually eliminate this constraint. We are also getting multiple machines so that we are not one-deep in any area.
“Regarding material delays, our planners will research and work with engineering to obtain approval for alternatives that we can use,” Foskey said. “Occasionally, they will not approve an alternative. If we can’t get a piece of equipment back up, we have developed partnerships with other bases such as Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida, and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, along with a few others where we ship parts to be processed.”
Despite the challenges, Foskey said his team keeps the mission moving with its expertise.
“573rd personnel do some amazing work to keep the warfighter flying,” he said. “The work we do is essential to the Air Force mission. In addition, we do some essential work for the Navy and have even done some work for the Army. If not for us there would be numerous aircraft grounded. Each person in the 573rd takes a lot of pride in the work that they do.”