MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
The maintainers take care of the B-52s, the aircrews fly the aircraft; but who takes care of the aircrew?
Flying around 50,000 feet in the air the B-52H Stratofortress aircrew are required to be properly equipped for any in-flight emergency. Whether taking off or landing, the 5th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment team is the aircrew’s lifeline.
“We’re responsible for making sure all of the equipment the aircrew members need to fly with is ready to go anytime,” said Airman 1st Class Necole S. Lane, 5th OSS aircrew flight equipment apprentice.
5th OSS aircrew flight equipment shop maintains, inspects and repairs different life sustaining equipment for the aircrew, which includes: flight helmets, life preservers, weapons, parachutes and survival gear.
“Every piece of equipment is on a cycle,” said Lane. “Our goal is to stay on cycle and make sure nothing is overdue and everything is current, updated and ready for use.”
Lane stated that keeping the equipment maintained keeps the aircrew safe and prepared for any emergency.
“We are mission essential,” said Lane. “We’re part of the reason the bombers can fly and if the aircrew don’t have us maintaining the equipment they need, they can’t fly safely.”
Along with maintaining equipment Lane said the shop cycles around multiple jobs when an aircrew comes in for gear.
“I enjoy being hands on at times and working the desk,” said Lane. “We get officer interaction almost every day which is the best of both worlds.”
Lane said that she and her fellow Airmen care about what they do to complete the mission.
“Our mission is to ensure that all the Aircrew have what they need when they need it and we make sure that box is checked,” said Lane.