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Maintainers Ensure 172d C-17s Fly High

172d Airlift Wing Commanders participate in the production meeting daily, ensuring they know the most accurate aircraft data and can apply resources where needed.  Above seated from left to right are commanders within the group: Col. Lynn Cole, Maj. Dale Shepherd, Lt. Col. Tyrone Williams and Lt. Col. Wyatt Rives.

172d Airlift Wing Commanders participate in the production meeting daily, ensuring they know the most accurate aircraft data and can apply resources where needed. Above seated from left to right are commanders within the group: Col. Lynn Cole, Maj. Dale Shepherd, Lt. Col. Tyrone Williams and Lt. Col. Wyatt Rives.

. -- Chances are, you've never wondered what it takes launch a fleet of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to support the mission of the Mississippi Air National Guard and our nation.  Much like the air we breathe or the water we expect to come from our faucets, we likely take the Air Force maintainer's efforts for granted when we see one of the behemoth gray jets flying gracefully over our heads.

The task of maintaining, launching and recovering the fleet of nine C-17's assigned to the 172d Airlift Wing falls on the members of the 172d Maintenance Group.  The group's members represent specialties ranging from avionics, structures, hydraulics, welding, metal shop, fuels and a myriad of others.  These highly trained professionals are tasked with providing a serviceable aircraft to the 172d Operations Group, allowing the wing to meet the challenging demands of our state and nation.

One of the key ways they maintain the readiness of the wing is with the plans initiated in their daily morning production meetings.  Here, they assess levels of risk to the aircraft and upcoming missions due to weather, manning, mission priorities and several other areas.  They also address maintenance issues for each aircraft individually to determine needed efforts required to complete any necessary repairs.

"This meeting is a crucial link to our success in accomplishing the 172d AW wing's mission requirements set forth by the operation tempo. Each morning the group observes, prioritizes and sets in motion a plan of execution pertaining to each requirement. This meeting is vitally important as it allows us to set the goals our group and ensure we providing the wing with the highest quality aircraft when they need it," said SMSgt Rudy Dyess, production superintendent. "We strive to always meet every goal and provide our customer the best product available."

The production meetings also include a review the upcoming flying schedule to ensure they have the aircraft slated, fueled and configured for each flight.  This requires frequent communication with other agencies to make certain that the C-17 is ready for its assigned mission.