Shorthanded at Misawa

F-16 mechanics from Air National Guard units in California, Indiana, New York, and South Carolina are deployed to Misawa AB, Japan, to assist the active duty F-16 force, which has deployed many of its Viper maintainers to South Korea and had others on recuperative leave after a deployment to Iraq. The 31 Air Guardsmen, who arrived in late February and expect to remain through the end of March, have been working with the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Misawa to recover and maintain F-16s that just returned from Iraq. The Air Guardsmen, most of whom maintain older Block 30 F-16s, received quick training on Misawa’s newer Block 50 fighters from one of the few active duty crew chiefs available, SSgt. William Thomas, with the squadron’s 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. It worked because 14th AMU lead production superintendent SMSgt. Michael Radford said, “We would not have been able to accomplish half the maintenance we completed without [the Air Guard’s] assistance.” (Misawa report by SSgt. Samuel Morse)