SOUTHWEST ASIA — The 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron recently teamed up with the 721st Air Mobility Operations Group from Ramstein Air Base to replace an engine on a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
The engine swap, which took less than one day to complete, allows the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing to continue airlift operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and other missions throughout the United States Central Command area of responsibility.
“This type of opportunity is always welcomed,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Perry, 721st AMOG aerospace propulsion craftsman and installation non-commissioned officer in charge. “Not only does it give me and my fellow Airmen the chance to expand and cement our capabilities, but it ensures our jobs are anything but stagnant.”
Perry said this is a process he has actually completed many times, both in and outside of the AOR. In most instances, the team will help deliver the replacement part to the requester and return to their home station. However, due to the deployed-mission requirements of the 5th EAMS, this team lent their expertise to help with the install.
“The typical engine change on an aircraft requires only a few Airmen,” he said. “However, depending on the mission’s requirements, a larger team of fully-qualified personnel can make a huge difference. This helps the job go by much faster and decreases the chances of issues or anything going wrong.”
Although the teams do their best to ensure nothing goes wrong, it doesn’t stop parts from needing to be replaced. In this instance, Tech. Sgt. Ryan Shaw, 5th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, said the culprit warranting the engine swap was an oil debris monitoring chip detector.
According to Shaw, the chip detector is a magnetic device that provides a reliable method of detecting impending failure of bearings and gears in the engine. The detector is checked during a post-flight inspection and will highlight the degradation of components, if there are any, resulting in an engine change.
While some of the work to swap the engine may have been difficult, the job actually provided some reprieve as it served as a reunion for many of the Airmen there.
“I have actually had the opportunity to work with Staff Sgt. Perry and his team when we were stationed together in Germany,” he said. “The C-17 world is a small one, and it is not uncommon to see friends from previous duty stations. Working in the AOR is rewarding enough, but to have a chance to complete it with old friends makes it even better.”