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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome: Accessories Airmen ensure global power

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
For as long as the B-52H Stratofortress has been in service, it has left a legacy in its wake. From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, the B-52 continues to serve, due to the men and women who maintain the various systems of the aircraft.

The Airmen of the 2nd Maintenance Squadron Accessories Flight specialize in the delicate fields of fuel systems maintenance, hydraulics systems, electrical and environmental systems and aircrew egress systems. Quality and timely maintenance to these systems ensures the B-52 is able to fly, aircrew have oxygen to breathe, ejection seats safely jettison. This is one of the main reasons the aircraft can continue being the bomber of choice for providing deterrence, demonstrating U.S. resolve and combat operations around the world.

"The accessories flight provides precise and trusted aircraft and component maintenance to the 2nd Bomb Wing, ensuring the continued Global strike capability and nuclear/conventional mission responsibilities anytime, anywhere," said Maj. Grant Meadows, 2 MXS commander.

The Airmen of the accessories flight are well trained and well equipped to handle the maintenance and repair of the venerable B-52.

"The men and women I supervise are excellent and motivated Airmen," said Master Sgt. Jeremy White, 2 MXS Accessories Flight flight chief. "Hard work is done here every day despite having a low number of personnel. I have senior airmen doing staff sergeant tasks, staff sergeants in technical sergeant slots and so on, and it goes to show how far they're willing to go to get the mission done."

With a total of 120 personnel split across the sections, getting the job done can sometimes be difficult. The United States Marine Corps term "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome" embodies the accessories flight's ability to provide quality maintenance despite their small numbers and an ever increasing work load, said White.

"As the work increases, morale improves within the shop and we get hands on training for the newer Airmen and leadership opportunities for our more experienced troops," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Fenimore, 2 MXS Accessories Flight hydraulics section chief.

The hydraulics section maintains the systems that allow the B-52 to steer, deploy landing gear and most importantly, open its bomb bay doors to deliver precision munitions. The flight's versatility makes them a financial asset as well.

"Handling brake repairs and cutting hydraulic hoses is all part of the job," said Fenimore. "We save the Air Force a lot of money by being able to repair and construct brake parts in house, as opposed to having to buy new parts every time something breaks down."

Although each section is small, they are never alone. Teamwork is key in this field, as each section works in tandem with each other to diagnose and repair a broken or damaged B-52. The electrical and environmental systems section is heavily involved in all aspects of the aircraft.

"As repairs go along, we sometimes encounter a problem where another section needs to come in," said Tech. Sgt. Remy Voisin, 2 MXS Accessories Flight electrical and environmental systems section chief. "We can't do the job alone. For example: if we come across a hydraulic or fuel line blocking our way, we'll work with those sections to get our work done and it's as easy as going next door and asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar."

For as long as the B-52s have been in the air, maintenance Airmen have stood side by side ready to assess, diagnose, load, refuel and repair them to keep Barksdale's fleet aloft.

It goes to show no matter the task or rising workloads, the Airmen of the Accessories Flight remain motivated and dedicated to their mission of ensuring Barksdale's global power.