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Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

An Airmen from the 5th Maintenance Squadron sheet metal shop dresses a center punch at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. The center punch is a tool used for making indentations in metal to guide the drill correctly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Airmen from the 5th Maintenance Squadron sheet metal shop work together as a team at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. The Airmen form types of metal, paint, prime and conduct corrosion inspections to maintain the B-52H Stratofortress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Dixon, 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, sands a piece of metal at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. Metal is sanded to ensure the sides are smooth and won’t crack under stress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Dixon, 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, picks out tools at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. The sheet metal shop uses a variety of hand and pneumatic tools such as drills, grinders and band saws. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Senior Airman Joshua Sacerio, 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman, uses a center punch at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. A center punch is a tool used for making indentations in metal to guide the drill correctly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Airman 1st Class Jonathan Dixon, 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, uses a foot shear to cut a piece of metal at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. A foot shear is used to safely cut and slice metal. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

An Airman from the 5th Maintenance Squadron sheet metal shop drills a hole at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. The shop uses a variety of hand and pneumatic tools such as drills, grinders and band saws. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit

Airman 1st Class Ryan Frederick, 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, saws through metal with a band saw at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Dec. 11, 2018. A band saw is used to precisely cut different types of metals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Grinding away shards of aluminum and steel, the Airmen work diligently to maintain the framework and structure of the B-52H Stratofortress.

Soon, the metal takes shape as they create new parts essential for this aircraft to operate and fly.

Among their duties, members of the 5th Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance sheet metal shop form types of metal, paint, prime and conduct corrosion inspections on the B-52.

“We make replacements parts with different types of metal and form it to maintain the aircraft,” said Airman 1st Class Jonathan Dixon, 5th MXS structural maintenance apprentice.

Besides making parts the sheet metal shop also fashions rivets, conducts skin repairs and change panels on the aircraft.

“Our goal is nuclear assurance,” said Dixon. “We always ensure we complete our job on time and keep the B-52s flying.”

He said the sheet metal shop’s motto is “We fix the buff, to blow stuff up.”

“We get requests from the flight line and different shops around base to either create new parts, or repair old ones, daily,” said Dixon.

The Airman in the sheet metal shop use a variety of hand and pneumatic tools such as drills, grinders and band saws.

“Our job is important because without the sheet metal shop the B-52s wouldn’t be able to fly,” said Dixon. “We create those replacement parts it needs to hold it together.”

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