Air Force Featured Stories

Hot maintenance

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Carrying out maintenance on Dover Air Force Base’s fleet of C-5M Super Galaxies and C-17A Globemaster IIIs can be challenging at times, but extreme heat and humidity can add additional challenges during the summer months.

Throughout the hottest months of the year, Dover AFB Airmen from the 436th and 512th Maintenance Groups regularly spend their work days sweltering through 90-plus degree temperatures, the scorching sun and extreme humidity.

"It's exhausting at times, you have to stay hydrated," said Airman 1st Class Kyle Ahearn, a 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief.

Ahearn and his fellow Airmen of the 436th AMXS work maintenance on Dover's C-5Ms, spending most of their time out on the flightline where the aircraft are parked. They are responsible for the everyday maintenance and inspections of the airframes and components. This occasionally requires them to crawl into tight confined spaces to perform this maintenance.

"Confined spaces in a C-5 get really hot," Ahearn said. "Heat rises, so anytime you are upstairs or in any enclosed space without a hatch or door open, the heat can really get to you."

But many Airmen actually prefer the hot weather. Originally from a much warmer part of the country, Airman 1st Class Ryan Forslund, a 436th AMXS crew chief, said he feels this way.

"Me personally, I love it," Forslund said. "I'm from Texas, so I love the heat and I dislike the cold. I love coming out here and working in the sun."

Forslund takes satisfaction from working in the extreme heat.

"I know it's gross," he said. "But when I work and get all sweaty, it just makes me feel more accomplished."

For the maintenance Airmen, staying safe in the hot weather means that proper hydration is key.

"It's hot," said Senior Airman Shaquille Taylor, a 436th AMXS crew chief. "It's important to hydrate and get as much shade as possible; otherwise it's like working in a microwave."

But even when the heat index rises well about the 100-degree mark, most maintainers prefer it to the subzero temperatures they experience every winter.

"The cold is the worst," Taylor said. "When it's cold your fingers get stiff; when it's hot you can just sweat and get through it."

Master Sgt. William Garcia, the 436th AMXS first sergeant, is consistently pleased with the hard work that his Airmen perform, regardless of the working conditions.

"When I see the maintainers out there in environments, whether it be heat, cold, snow, whatever it may be; I'm always amazed by their professionalism and getting the job done," Garcia said. "They don't complain, they don't moan, they do what they got to do and they do a great job, day in and day out."