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.”