Military News

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

23d AMXS keeps A-10s flying during DRAGON STRIKE

by Airman 1st Class Dillian Bamman
23d Wing Public Affairs

6/22/2015 - AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, Fla. -- Team Moody sent more than 100 maintainers and 36 tons of cargo from the 23d Maintenance Group to Exercise DRAGON STRIKE to keep 10 A-10C Thunderbolt IIs ready for flight here, June 6-13.

DRAGON STRIKE was a joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) oriented exercise including close air support (CAS), surface-to-surface fire and combat search and rescue missions, each requiring A-10 maintenance support.

"The importance of the 23d MXG at DRAGON STRIKE was to ensure our A-10s could successfully perform their portion of the exercise, which was to provide outstanding CAS for our JTACs and joint partners," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Drew Vorhies, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge.

The joint exercise mirrored a deployment for the maintainers, unlike their standard temporary duties to other Air Force bases according to Vorhies.

"Our Airmen learned how to operate out of a bare-bone, austere-like environment down at Avon Park," Vorhies said. "We have gotten very spoiled with the standard Nellis, Barkesdale and Eglin [temporary duties], that it's refreshing to pack up a large maintenance package and deploy to a place we are not as familiar with."

"Once we got into a good battle rhythm down there, it was just like we were performing maintenance back home," he added.

The operations tempo generally changes when maintainers deploy to remote locations and DRAGON STRIKE was no different.

"This was a good exercise to prepare us for [deployments]," said Senior Airman Jeffrey Veazey, 74th AMU A-10 avionics specialist. "We're doing just as much work here as we would do [at Moody], but with much less manpower."

Even through the long hours and deployment-like conditions, the 23d MXG kept the A-10s ready to fly for the entire eight-day exercise.

"Maintaining 10 aircraft at an austere location like Avon Park is no small feat," said Vorhies. "Our maintainers ensured that we did not lose a single exercise sortie due to maintenance. As usual, the 23d MXG easily overcame those difficulties and did an outstanding job supporting DRAGON STRIKE."

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