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Teamwork among depots keeps T-38s flying

by Brandice Armstrong
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2008 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFPN) -- Workers from the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center's 76th Maintenance Wing here combined with Air Force Materiel Command's other two depots in a round-the-clock push to make hundreds of levers, helping Air Force officials keep the T-38 Talon training jet flying.

The effort came on the heels of an investigation into a T-38 crash at Sheppard AFB, Texas, in which two pilots were killed. Investigators discovered the T-38 aileron actuator lever, a flight control, was a contributing factor.

Ogden Air Logistics Center personnel at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, -- the ALC responsible for repairing the T-38 -- asked for help once officials determined approximately 1,600 left and right aileron actuator levers were needed immediately. Otherwise, senior Air Force officials would consider grounding the entire fleet, which is crucial for pilot training.

In late July, Ogden ALC officials asked Oklahoma City ALC personnel to manufacture 800 left levers. Ogden personnel teamed with counterparts at Warner Robins ALC, Robins AFB, Ga., to manufacture the right levers.

"This effort really exemplifies how the three ALCs, by working together as a team, can rapidly respond to almost any warfighter need," said Col. Jeffrey Sick, 76th Commodities Maintenance Group commander. "This is the way of the future and we can see it from where we sit today."

Working around the clock and on weekends, Tinker officials agreed to produce 50 left levers by Aug. 18. An additional 50 levels will be produced weekly until the order of 800 levers is complete.

"Our folks are totally dedicated," said Herman Dave Sanchez, 552nd Commodities Maintenance Squadron Accessories Division director. "We notified them of this particular project and the urgency of it and they all marched out and did their jobs. They executed to get the part prototyped and in production in record time."

Prior to Tinker's involvement, Ogden ALC personnel obtained aileron actuator levers from a contractor through the Defense Logistics Agency. Due to the technical compliance technical order at hand, Ogden ALC personnel would not be able to obtain the required 1,600 parts quick enough.

Glenn Berglan, 552nd CMMXS Local Manufacturing Flight chief, said the project is an example of the work they do every day.

"It gives us the opportunity to showcase what we're about and what we can do, especially our rapid manufacturing capabilities," he said.

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