Chiefs latest group to laud Team Robins production Team

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
Where there's trust, partnership, gratitude and hard work, there's no limit to what can be accomplished. 

Such is the case at Robins where there are ongoing efforts to support global operations of Air Force Special Operations Command. 

Over the last few months, the C-130 Air Force Special Operations Command Acceleration Flight here has prepared for the arrival of six MC-130H Combat Talons and AC-130U gunships scheduled for accelerated programmed depot maintenance in fiscal 2016. 

The first gunship was delivered in February to AFSOC at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in a record 100 days - 52 days ahead of production schedule. 

How the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex partners with AFSOC in supporting those worldwide missions was the focus of a visit Tuesday by AFSOC and Air Force Sustainment Center command chiefs, as well as a dozen AFSOC maintenance chiefs from Hurlburt Field and Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. 

"Having the trust and confidence that C-130s will always work and be ready is everything to us," said Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso, AFSOC command chief. "Each and every night in the skies of Afghanistan, for missions that come up, we have to have gunships and Talons ready to go. 

"What makes AFSOC unique is there are only a small amount of these aircraft in our command. It's no different than say with Air Combat Command's JSTARS or other niche capabilities the Air Force looks to. These aircraft allow our special operations forces to go downrange and get into tight spots, relatively quietly," said Caruso.   

"It cannot be understated just how important the acceleration of these airplanes is through depot maintenance," he continued. "Without the team in Warner Robins we couldn't get our training and mission accomplished. We can't get things done without developing these great relationships." 

Whether it's maintainers from the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron working directly on gunships or Combat Talons; securing parts from the Defense Logistics Agency; performing metal bond repairs by the 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group; or writing software in the 402nd Software Maintenance Group; that partnership is strong to support worldwide special forces operators who work to protect our interests at home and abroad.

Among AFSOC's inventory of specialized low density/high demand aircraft, AC-130s in particular provide close air support among a multitude of other missions. 

Combat Talons provide infiltration/exfiltration capabilities with special operations forces, and in-flight refueling. The first of three MC-130H aircraft arrived at Robins, recently receiving an outer wing replacement; its refueling pods were also updated. 

By bringing senior enlisted leaders from AFSOC maintenance groups, Caruso added there's a greater appreciation that can be shared about accelerated PDM work here, with future talk of reciprocating visits with maintainers.   

This week's visit included a tour of C-130 PDM operations, followed by coin presentations to 20 individuals from the 638th Supply Chain Management Group, DLA, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the 560th AMXS, 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group, 402nd CMXG and American Federation of Government Employees Local 987. 

This was Caruso's second visit to Robins since last fall and follows last week's visit from Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, AFSOC commander. Maj. Gen. Eugene Haase, AFSOC vice commander, flew from Hurlburt Field to Robins in February onboard a combat-ready AC-130 "Spooky" gunship. 

On the significance of this visit, Jake Dickson, AFSOC Acceleration Flight chief here, described his team was humbled and encouraged to once again share their good news. 

"We were pleased and thankful to have the chiefs come and get a feel for the pride we take in the work we do here," said Dickson. "It's important for us to see their appreciation of the value we have in a maintainer-to-maintainer visit. They were glad to see the problem solving approach we had to some of our challenges. We were able to bring them in and make them part of the solution. That's going to be key to our sustainment and success." 

Tours also focused on the C-130 center wing box program; and software labs and radomes, with discussions on blurring the lines, merging and strengthening existing partnerships with AFSOC, AFSC and WR-ALC.

"This was a great opportunity to work with our AFSOC warriors, to build and improve relationships and provide a valuable perspective on what we do at the complex, and explain the benefits of our entire AFSC enterprise and how they contribute to the success of this accelerated PDM for AFSOC," said Chief Master Sgt. Jason France, AFSC command chief.