Airmen protect the layers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Upon walking into the paint room inside the Corrosion Control Facility on Hurlburt Field, Fla., the area resembles more of a scene from "Men in Black" than a maintenance room in the United States Air Force. Rows of neon green tape hang painted paper to cover the walls, and Airmen dressed in plastic white suits with respirators hold paint guns that could be mistaken for the "Cricket" weapon used by Will Smith in the first movie.

This is a normal work day for the Airmen from Fabrication Flight, 1st Special Operations Equipment Maintenance Squadron.

The squadron is made up of 5 flights-- maintenance, fabrication, munitions, weapons and aerospace ground equipment. Each flight plays a significant role in keeping Hurlburt Fields aircraft mission capable.

The Fabrication Flight works predominately out of the Corrosion Control's building provides corrosion preventative measures to prolong the life of the aircraft and equipment needed to complete the Air Force Special Operations mission.

"It's our job, through technical order guidance, to conduct the best possible corrosion prevention and control measures to maximize Air Force combat capability," said Staff Sgt. Daryl Henderson, assistant NCO in charge of corrosion control for Fabrication Flight. "Items like the C-130 engine that was painted, require quick turn-around because there is a 'zero balance' in the supply system. Our work must be timely as well as quality."

Most maintenance units specialize in a single aircraft but these Airmen learn how to work on all the different types.

"We do not just work on the CV-22 or C-130s," said Senior Airman Timothy Jones, an aircraft structural maintainer for Fabrication Flight. "We have to learn the ins and outs of all the aircraft and make sure, no matter what the tasking is or aircraft, we can do it."

When an aircraft or part is brought in to get a shiny new coat of paint, it goes through various steps. First, the equipment needs to be sanded down and wiped off. After the initial steps are complete, the equipment is transferred to a new room where Airmen are ready to put on primer.

Maintainers spray a bright green layer of primer on equipment, making it more durable against corrosive elements like salt water, while increasing the adhesiveness of equipment. The primer helps with the paint adhere to the equipment which aids in the final task of applying of gray paint to it, greatly decreasing chances of possible paint flaking.

It is very important for the Airmen to correctly perform the assigned tasks.

"If tasks are not performed correctly, the health of our aircraft and equipment could be severely compromised," Henderson said. "We are stationed in an area surrounded by salt water; it increases the chances of corrosion."

Corrosion control is not limited to painting equipment. The Airmen also do advanced composite repairs and chemical and mechanical paint removal; all while complying with Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Air Force Office of Safety and Health standards and regulations.

"Corrosion Control allows the Air Force to maximize the use of aircraft and equipment over an extended amount of time," said Henderson.