An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Maintenance Crews show Multi-Capable BTF Strategy in Indo-Pacific

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Staci Kasischke
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

As the sun beats down on the flightline at Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, dedicated B-52 Stratofortresses maintenance Airmen support the first Bomber Task Force deployment to this strategic location and first B-52 presence since 2020.

Facing the challenges of reduced personnel while supporting long-range missions spanning more than 30-hours, a crew of Airmen from the 96th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 2nd Maintenance Squadron from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, adapt with a multi-capable approach, demonstrating the Air Force's evolving strategy towards more agile and efficient operations.

"When selecting Airmen for this mission, we prioritized individuals not only for their expertise in specific specialties, but also for their versatility,” said 2nd Lt. Bridget Hughes, BTF maintenance officer in-charge. "From avionics to egress, everyone has been assisting with crew chief tasks, ensuring our aircraft are maintained to the highest standards."

Maintenance Airmen with a smaller footprint than recent B-52 BTFs are stepping outside their usual tasks to get the mission done.

“When the bombers arrived, every maintenance member helped catch the aircraft, reducing the workload of our aircrew who had just flown over 30-hours,” Hughes said. “If anyone had stopped to say that’s not my job, we would not have had the success we had.”

Although the crews are familiar with BTF missions to Guam, the combination of Diego Garcia's austere environment and the small size of the team has provided them with a new experience.

“This is my first time in Diego Garcia, and I thought it would be a little similar to Guam, but it's actually very different,” said Staff Sgt. David Batchelor, 96th AMXS crew chief. “I’ve never been on a trip where so many people have been so open to assisting each other. The specialist shops are learning what we do and doing very well because they're all smart and experienced.”

In the heart of the Indian Ocean, these maintainers have displayed their own heart and motivation.

“Airmen from different shifts and different squadrons have all bonded together out here,” Hughes said. “Morale is high as people get to know each other and it’s been great getting to see everyone work together and take so much pride in the work they do.”

These BTF missions enable air and maintenance crews alike to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, validating our always-ready global strike capability.

“The rate at which we're able to do high quality maintenance on trips like this is evident,” said Batchelor. “We know that we can get these bombers ready anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day.”

This deployment is in support of Pacific Air Forces’ training efforts with Allies, partners, and joint forces and strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the Indo- Pacific region.