20th EMS metals Airmen build mobile fabrication unit

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Steven Cardo
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology shop are dedicated to providing maintainers with the right parts and tools to ensure aircraft readiness at home station and abroad. However, deploying metal fabrication equipment poses challenges in terms of cost and logistics. Drawing from their combined experience in deployed maintenance operations, the metals team formed the idea of a light, lean and mobile metals workshop: a concept aimed at maximizing mission agility and maintenance performance while minimizing resource consumption and logistical costs.

Over the last year, 20th EMS metals Airmen collaborated to design and assemble a mobile fabrication workshop out of an internal slingable unit. This newly modified transportable storage container can be used to fully resource and provide metals support to a deployed unit in any location and can be transported via military air, as well as operate at home station in an efficient manner. The end goal of the 20th EMS metals shop project is to provide one unit for each fighter generation squadron at Shaw.

“We were inspired by our deployment experience to a bare base with two months’ short notice,” said Staff Sgt. Nolan Hills, 20th EMS aircraft metals technology craftsman. “We aimed to include everything we wished we had in the deployed environment for our Airmen potentially deploying in the future. The ISU allows us to consolidate our machine and welding shops into one deployable asset and reduce the cost of having to transport multiple maintenance increments.”

From grinding to welding and cutting, the metals shop depended on its members’ diverse skill sets to design and equip the ISU to fulfill various maintenance operations from contingency locations and support a variety of mission needs.

“This was most definitely a team effort,” said Tech. Sgt. Raymond Russel, 20th EMS aircraft metals technology section chief. “Everyone’s collective ideas from their experiences at different bases came together into this one concept. Metals tech is a close team and everyone has different experiences from different airframes, so we got everyone together and made a list of what we needed to have in the ISU.”

The 20th EMS aircraft metals technology Airmen aim to assemble the mobile fabrication ISUs as long-lasting and agile assets, easily deployable anywhere in the world, so each maintenance squadron can support mission readiness without sacrificing space and cost.

“These ISUs are an outstanding example of how Airmen can team together, drive innovation and make small changes that ultimately have the potential to shape how we support the war fight,” said Lt. Col. Stephanie July, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron commander. “I am proud of the 20th EMS team’s ingenuity and am confident this new capability will continue to transform how we generate airpower down range.”

20th EMS metals tech Airmen plan to fabricate additional ISUs to employ on future deployments, promoting mission focused ingenuity within the unit and contributing to wing readiness.