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