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Hill AFB Airmen dedicated to helping FE Warren

  • Published
  • By Airman Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

There is nothing quite like teamwork to show off the Air Force's ability to work together, especially by agencies separated by hundreds of miles. Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, are seven hours apart and are an example of this multi-agency teamwork that moves the Air Force.

The technical engineering office on F.E. Warren AFB is an extension of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Program Office at Hill AFB, but is dedicated to supporting the 90th Missile Wing and its Airmen. This allows the intercontinental ballistic missile technical engineers to provide assistance to the 90th Maintenance Group more easily.

The technical engineering office receives calls from maintenance Airmen and capsule crews asking how to proceed through problems in maintenance procedures or technical orders.
Technical orders are documents maintenance Airmen are required to follow that provide instructions and safety precautions for the operation and maintenance of Air Force systems and equipment. The technical engineers will help fast-track a solution to their problems or just provide clarification on technical orders.

“There can be an issue that a TO doesn’t quite cover or address at all,” said Maj. Jace Littles, ICBM technical engineer, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. “Or when maintenance runs into issues following procedural steps, or things aren’t playing out as expected, they give tech engineering a call to help walk them through it.”

Technical engineers occasionally dispatch into the field where they get hands-on alongside the maintenance teams to help them resolve the problem they are having.

“As an engineer, we get to be hands-on,” said Littles. “We get to dispatch and go down into the missile silos and work on the missiles and equipment.”

One time, Littles and his colleagues were part of a string of dispatches to the field regarding a situation with apparent dangerous carbon monoxide readings at a launch facility. For several months the site required increased entry procedures, increased equipment usage, and longer stays for working Airmen. The technical engineers finally narrowed the cause to hydrogen gas being emitted by the LF batteries. The CO sensors were unable to accurately distinguish between Hydrogen and CO and gave off false alarms.

“We took several measurements in the field, did some research and also did an experiment here on base to verify our theory that hydrogen was being mistaken for CO,” said Littles. “Once the program office at Hill agreed, we installed new sensors that are better equipped to distinguish the two gases.”

So the next time the 90th Maintenance Group has an issue, they know who to call…technical engineering.