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Corrosion control fights rust

  • Published
  • By Chris Willis
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
The 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron corrosion shop at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, employs only five people, but its small staff plays a big role in keeping nuclear facilities and equipment operational.

Corrosion control focuses on preventative maintenance by sanding down and repainting the equipment either at their shop on base or by traveling to the launch and missile alert facilities using their maintenance van mobile work shop.

"Our job is to go out to the launch and missile sites, and make sure they are being sustained," said Christopher Behr, 341st MMXS corrosion shop work leader.  "By using the van we can perform maintenance on scene, cutting back the total time it takes to turn a work order around."

Leighton Dresch, 341st MMXS corrosion shop foreman, said their facility was recently updated, which also brought in newer equipment and better capabilities.

"We have sanders and paint rooms that have a better air system," he said.  "It is important to recycle the air effectively since it could have the potential to affect the workers' health or life."

Behr points out that the shop's goal is long term sustainment of the sites. He has noticed some sites have a bigger problem with rust than others because of water tables at those particular sites.

Every site gets inspected using a checklist. The team looks for water damage, chipped paint, corrosion or anything that has the potential to create a problem.

"Our first job is to inspect the site," said Dresch. "Then we fix what we can on site and if we can't we will return at a later date with specialized equipment."

There have been many updates to the sites over the past couple of years, to include a new air conditioning system.  The old units leaked water on steal in the missile alert facilities, causing rust.

Behr believes that a lot of base personnel don't really know they exist but that doesn't mean they don't take great pride in what they do. 

"We are not reactionary, our job is to make sure those facilities are still there and working, if ever needed," said Dresch. "We are always trying to leave the facilities and equipment better then we found them."