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.