Robins does "Surge" duty - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Robins does "Surge" duty

^ Jeff Bradford ^ Jeff Bradford
F-15 fighter F-15 fighter
^ Laser cutter ^ Laser cutter

February 14, 2004

Warner Robins-- The need for certain aircraft parts and equipment has some operations at Robins Air Base working three shifts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The base calls it "Surge"-- stepping up priority for needed parts.

At the largest industrial complex in the state, Robins Air Base, employees are working overtime to make sure the United States aircraft in the Middle East are prepared in case of war.

Mechanic Jeff Bradford scrapes old paint and adhesive off parts of a clamshell door for a C-5 aircraft. One of the many small jobs being done at the Technology Repair Center at Robins Air Force Base, but an important one, as they overhaul the biggest aircraft heavy hauler in America's fleet.

"Desert Shield, Desert Storm I was assigned to a provisional wing in the Gulf, and stayed for 222 days," Bradford said. "Actually came home on a C-5. It's a good airplane, got a special place in my heart."

The base takes aircraft from all the U.S. military, dismantles them, overhauls each part, and then puts it back together like new. They do this with a mix of space age technology, and old-fashioned elbow grease.

A laser-guided computer locates and tests welds in F-15 wings. The wings are vital because they also are the fighter's fuel cells. This is one of the items the Air Force has surged, needing more ready as soon as possible.

Manufacturing Section Production Chief Chuck Schipes said "We understand the troops needs for their livelihood, as far as their day to day mission."

Another high-tech device at Robins is the water jet cutter. "We can cut anything from paper, rubber, gaskets, up to 11 inch solid aluminum, 6 inches solid steel."

But some jobs have to be done by the hands of an experienced worker. Kenny Price has to build the prop housing for the C-130 by hand. There are 468 parts he has to piece together, to make up the props on this workhorse aircraft.

Roger Hatton is making tubes for the C-5's brake lines. He has been working long days for this needed part, but he says he knows it's worth it. "I like living in a free country, and all of us have to do our part."

Dedicated men and women in Georgia working daily to support the Armed Forces at home in the Middle East. Robins Air Force Base has more than 25,500 civilian and military workers, living in 25 counties across Georgia. The total economic impact of the base is $4 billion.

posted at 4:05PM by dave.miller@walb.com