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‘Speckled Trout’ takes a beating

Members of the Expeditionary Depot Maintenance section perform post-attack reconnaissance sweeps during their chemical biological radiological nuclear and explosive exercise June 24. During the exercise, the Airmen are also required to perform aircraft battle damage repair. This was the first exercise for them to perform repairs to the newly damaged Speckled Trout, a KC-135 they received in April.

Members of the Expeditionary Depot Maintenance section perform post-attack reconnaissance sweeps during their chemical biological radiological nuclear and explosive exercise June 24. During the exercise, the Airmen are also required to perform aircraft battle damage repair. This was the first exercise for them to perform repairs to the newly damaged Speckled Trout, a KC-135 they received in April.

Staff Sgt. Skyler McInnis, an expeditionary depot maintenance craftsman with the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group, creates the first damage to Speckled Trout, a KC-135 that was once used to transport DV's. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

Staff Sgt. Skyler McInnis, an expeditionary depot maintenance craftsman with the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group, creates the first damage to Speckled Trout, a KC-135 that was once used to transport DV's. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

The 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group's Expeditionary Depot Maintenance section uses several training aids with Airmen learning aircraft battle damage repair. From patching sheetmetal to splicing wires, the Airmen benefit from their training while giong through their exercises, such as the CBRNE exercise June 24, where they had to repair the damaged aircraft while also dressed in MOPP 4 gear, utilizing their self-aid buddy care knowledge and doing post-attack reconnaissance sweeps to find any unexploded ordnance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

The 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group's Expeditionary Depot Maintenance section uses several training aids with Airmen learning aircraft battle damage repair. From patching sheetmetal to splicing wires, the Airmen benefit from their training while giong through their exercises, such as the CBRNE exercise June 24, where they had to repair the damaged aircraft while also dressed in MOPP 4 gear, utilizing their self-aid buddy care knowledge and doing post-attack reconnaissance sweeps to find any unexploded ordnance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

The KC-135 known as the “Speckled Trout” will spend the next 25 years at Tinker as an Aircraft Battle Damage Repair trainer.

Earlier this month, the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group’s Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight pulled out a sledge hammer and did first damage to what was once a transport aircraft for distinguished visitors.

“It’s some pretty significant damage so we’re excited about that,” EDMX Flight Commander 1st Lt. Rebecca Kretzer said. “They’ll go out there and use this as a real world example of potential damage they could see out in the field.”

Of course, whatever damage is done has to be fixed, and on June 24 EDMX began their week- long exercise to do just that.

“You never know what capabilities the enemy has, so we try to run them through every possible scenario,” EDMX Tech. Sgt. Samuel Carr said.

The particular scenario EDMX trained for during their most recent exercise was a rocket projectile piercing the wing and causing extensive damage to the aircraft before coming out on the other side.

“It’s not as much damage as an actual rocket would’ve done, but we try to incorporate every facet or job that we would typically do day-to-day,” Carr said. “We try not to go too far out of our realm of possibilities, but just far enough to get the guys thinking about a possible scenario that is likely to happen depending on what country we’re deployed to at the time.”

On the first morning of the exercise, the cannon sounded and EDMX crews went through the scenario in full chemical biological radiological nuclear and explosive gear, and with a sense of urgency practicing ordnance sweeps, self-aid buddy care and damage assessment.

Staff Sgt. Harrison Mishler was tasked with assessing the damage and doling out repair duties.

“There are five different areas to fix,” Mishler said. “First of all, there’s a panel with multiple holes in it and above the panel we have a cracked hydro line, and above that is a wire bundle that has over half the wires inside of it split. We’re going to go through and reattach all those wires. Lastly, we have this throttle cable which has disconnected itself, and a pulley that the throttle cable goes through is damaged.”

A B-52 was also used in the exercise with a left fuselage puncture and a dent in the horizontal stabilizer leading edge needing to be repaired.

Overall, the air battle damage repair exercises EDMX performs provide leadership with insight on how they and their team can improve.

“We’re a work in progress,” Carr said. “We’re throwing a lot of new things at them, things they haven’t seen before and they’re learning just as we’re learning. The beauty about this is it’s not a one way street.”

The next Aircraft Battle Damage Repair exercise will take place in September.