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Rangers of the flightline

Rangers of the flightline

Airmen of the 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight inspect multiple pieces of machinery at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 8, 2019. The 2nd MXS AGE flight performs 170 to 190 scheduled inspections a month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stuart Bright)

Rangers of the flightline

Senior Airman River Wilson, 2nd Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight mechanic, installs a tire to a cowling trailer at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 8, 2019. The 2nd MXS AGE flight performs 170 to 190 scheduled inspections a month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stuart Bright)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

During the Vietnam War, aerospace ground equipment personnel donned the nickname of Ranger and the acronym DINSTAAR (Danger is no stranger to the AGE ranger) was born.

Rangers of the 2nd Maintenance Squadron AGE flight maintain 640 pieces of machinery that are essential to the mission of the B-52H Stratofortress.

“In order to maintain our equipment efficiently, we are trained to be knowledgeable in general mechanics and maintenance practices and are expected to adhere to these practices to produce reliable equipment,” said Staff Sgt. Julianne Mondorf, 2nd MXS AGE journeyman.

These include diesel and turbine generators, portable air conditioners, hydraulic test stands and turbine compressors. They also work with smaller machines such as portable lighting carts, diesel heaters, air compressors, hydraulic jacks and maintenance stands.

“An AGE Ranger has to be multifaceted as a mechanic,” said Master Sgt. Darren Baum, 2nd MXS AGE production superintendent. “They need to be able to troubleshoot and fix a numerous amount of equipment, making them the most versatile mechanic on the flightline.”

The Airmen perform anywhere between 170 and 190 scheduled inspections a month. These can range from a simple service inspection to a specialized check such as corrosion control.

“Our mission is to make sure we effectively maintain our support equipment in order to provide the aircraft with the [machinery] they need,” said Airman 1st Class John Yvan Jose, 2nd MXS AGE journeyman.

During exercises and deployments, the flight mobilizes the equipment needed for the taskings. This would include defueling the equipment, tying down loose components and dismantling them to be ready to transport. Once the AGE Airmen arrive at their destination, they unload the equipment and continue their mission of maintaining the machinery.

“There is no air power without ground power,” Mondorf said. “Our equipment is a major contribution to the maintenance of the B-52, which in turn leads to successful deterrence missions.”

Each day provides a new challenge for the unit. There is always something new that needs to be worked on or fixed.

“Every morning, I feel excited to learn something new and accomplish a task that needs to be done,” Jose said. “At the end of the day, I feel exhausted and ready for another shift.”

Working around the clock and ready at a moment's notice, the Rangers of AGE are prepared to get their job done.

“I like to think I work shoulder to shoulder with some of the best mechanics, not just in the Air Force, but the world,” Baum said.