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Swamp Fox fuels experts assist C-5 crew with maintenance problem during deployment surge

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jim St.Clair
  • 169th Fighter Wing/ Public Affairs

Teamwork makes the dream work, as the old saying goes. When a C-5 Galaxy transport jet landed at McEntire last week to pack up cargo for the wing’s overseas deployment, the aircrew discovered a fuel leak which could have grounded the aircraft. Fortunately, three Swamp Fox Airmen stepped in with the right expertise to troubleshoot and fix the problem so the jet could take off on time.

On April 7, 2021 a C-5 Super Galaxy from the 312th Airlift Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, California arrived at McEntire Joint National Guard Base to load palletized equipment onto the heavy transport aircraft for movement to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. After all the cargo was successfully loaded, the aircrew discovered a fuel leak originating on the right wing which would have grounded the aircraft, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn Daley, 169th Maintenance Squadron commander. After a quick call to transient alert, a team from the fuels shop consisting of Master Sgt. Robert Woodard, Staff Sgt. David Viers and Staff Sgt. Anthony Romero was dispatched to assess the problem.

“Only personnel from the fuels shop could work on [the problem]. Being that we had some 7-level type experts available, they were able to assess what was wrong, make a fix according to the T.O. (technical order) and then were able to sign off on the section knowing that it would work,” Daley said.

Woodard, Viers and Romero diagnosed that the problem was with a panel for a fuel pump. They removed the safety wire to re-torque the fasteners and then installed new safety wire, Daley explained. Had the Swamp Fox fuels personnel not been available, the C-5 would have been stuck overnight until the Air Force could have flown in a maintenance team to fix the problem. 

Simultaneously, the fuels shop was also troubleshooting problems on four SCANG F-16s to get them ready to leave on the deployment.

“What made this really significant is that we had four broke F-16s on the ramp that we were trying to prep for deployment, all with fuels related issues. So they were working four other [Air Expeditionary Force] jets during that exact time,” Daley said.

Thanks to Swamp Fox expertise and teamwork, mission failure was averted and the jets were able to depart as planned.