ME2 Sion Koh, 428th Fighter Squadron engine specialist, and ME2 Gary Liow, 428th FS weapon specialist, organize and mark lunches for ground crew members Oct. 12, 2012, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The 428th FS “Buccaneers” are currently participating in the RED FLAG-Alaska 13-1 exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)
Ground crew personnel from the 428th Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, eat lunch after spending the morning preparing aircraft for launch Oct. 12, 2012, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Lunchtime between “sorties” is greatly appreciated as it gives them an opportunity to warm up and unwind from their hectic work environment on the flight line. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)
by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/17/2012 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The 428th Fighter Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, has settled into their temporary home in Alaska.
The 428th FS "Buccaneers" are stationed at MHAFB as part of a unique, long-term partnership with the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The U.S.-flagged 428th FS is dedicated solely to the training of Singaporean F-15SG aircrews and operations of their country's newest fighter platform. The combined effort on this program helps ensure a strong U.S.-Singapore relationship.
The Buccaneers are currently participating in RED FLAG-Alaska 13-1, and the rigorous flight schedule has kept them extremely busy.
"I usually wake up around 3 a.m. and am at work by 4 a.m.," said Republic of Singapore ME1 Wee Tiong Lim, flight line crew member. "Our shifts are between 8-10 hours a day and the flying schedule for that day determines when we prepare the aircrafts for launch."
Once the jets are in the air, ground personnel head into the hangar and wait to recover the aircraft upon return.
"While we are waiting for the jets to return we ensure the flight line is prepped for their return," said Lim. "This is also the time to ensure any orders for equipment and parts are placed."
The extreme cold and unpredictable weather proves a nuisance to the Buccaneer maintainers but accomplishing the mission is priority number one.
"This is my first time in Alaska and I am really enjoying the exercise," said Lim. "We spend a lot of time out on the flight line in the nasty weather but we always get the job done."
Hard work from ground crew members, despite the elements, has made quite an impression on many aircrew personnel.
"The professionalism and hard work from members of our ground crew is much appreciated," said Republic of Singapore 1st Lt. Raymond Teo, 428th FS pilot. "Regardless of the temperature outside or snow or rain, our aircraft are prepared to fly every day because of their efforts."