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Eielson Airmen support Army deployments

by Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/23/2011 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFNS) -- Airmen with the 354th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment flight assisted in processing nearly 500 deploying Soldiers through the Joint Mobility Complex Feb. 3 here to help fulfill the wing's mission of enabling military forces.

AGE Airmen supported the deployment effort by de-icing aircraft and providing maintenance crews with lights, heaters, nonpowered stands and equipment to test the aircraft. AGE was not the single entity for the deployments success, but one of several Eielson Air Force Base agencies involved.

Eielson AFB Airmen's involvement makes the deployment process easier since the AGE flight is more specialized in its capability to de-ice, said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Simpson, a 354th MXS AGE service and maintenance section leader.

Eielson AFB is equipped with eight de-icers. One of which is capable of extended reach, which is necessary to safely treat the larger planes needed for troop deployments.

In another support role, AGE Airmen provide equipment and support to help prevent parked aircraft from freezing over and becoming inoperable.

"It takes a lot of heaters to ensure the planes take off on time," Sergeant Simpson said.

In cold temperatures, heaters need to be put under struts to get the plane moving. Eight to 10 heaters are needed per aircraft. Depending on the temperature, transient aircraft do not adjust well to extreme cold weather.

"We support them with whatever they need to complete the mission," said David Polly, the 354th MXS AGE support work leader of the flightline. "We want to make sure their needs are taken care of."

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