MC-130 Maintenance at Fairford 2004

With the
temporary closure of RAF Mildenhall the 352nd Maintenance Squadron
Isochronal Inspection Section needed somewhere with runway
accessible hangar space where they could continue to maintain the
Group’s MC-130 type aircraft.  Fairford met this requirement
perfectly and with the airfield open for KC-135 operations there was
no problem flying their MC-130 aircraft in and out throughout the
summer months.




While at Fairford
the 352nd MXS performed the scheduled annual aircraft
inspections, managed the aircraft washes and performed all major
maintenance for the Special Operations Group.  All of this required
MC-130 hangar space, in-tank fuel cell maintenance and aircraft
jacking equipment.  Most of the equipment needed was supplied by the
352nd MXS such as tools, aircraft parts, airframe
specific stands, engine wash carts, aircraft support cribbing, a
high-lift and a crane.



The deployed personnel were from the 352 MXS and included MC-130 Crew
Chiefs, Aero Repair technicians, Intercom and Flight Control Systems
Specialists and Propulsion Systems Specialist. The 100th
ARW Maintenance Squadron supplied other personnel who provided
critical expertise in other areas such as Electro-Environmental
Systems and Hydraulics Systems Specialists, Structural Repair
Technicians and Metals Technology Technicians.

Operating out of Fairford meant the 352nd had to keep
track of people rotating between RAF Mildenhall and RAF Fairford,
when various specialists would be arriving or leaving so they could
ensure maintenance could continue without interruption and caring
for the dorm rooms at Fairford.  In fact the airmen were
specifically praised for doing an outstanding job of maintaining
their quarters and ensuring that the rooms and common areas were
kept clean and ready.


Not everything was good, the supply and transportation of aircraft
parts between Mildenhall and Fairford added significantly to the
length of time for repairs, requiring extra time to be scheduled in
during inspections and repair estimates.




The visiting airmen found both the atmosphere of the base and the
area extremely pleasant and those who were able to be here enjoyed
the scenery and the local villages immensely.  On base the dining
facility provided them with an excellent menu and with great service
for all shifts including the weekend workers and the base gym was


Taking into
account world events and some of the locations the 352nd deploy to
this was easily one of the best locations to be sent to in terms of
scenery and hospitality.

The most frequently visited local areas were Swindon most of the
local villages, kebab shops and some of the local golf courses. 
Many also took advantage of the location to visit some of the
regional sites like Stonehenge.  For those who deployed who are
familiar with the north western part of the US the Fairford area
felt very familiar.  The hills and trees made the entire region very
pleasant to be in.  Mildenhall, by comparison, reminded many people
of the plains states of the U.S.



Overall people
left with a great impression of the base and surrounding community.
Pretty much everybody that went down there enjoyed themselves and
would not mind returning there for a similar deployment.



Images and information for this article came from the 352nd SOG
Public Affairs, RAF Mildenhall.

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