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Total Force aircraft maintainers join forces during Red Flag

Senior Airman Dakota Trujillo, 151st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, renders a salute as a KC-135 Stratotanker departs for take-off, March 4, 2016, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Crews from Fairchild AFB, Wash.; McConnell AFB, Kan.; and Roland R. Wright ANG Base, Utah; were tasked to maintain the tanker task force during Red Flag 16-2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua)

Senior Airman Dakota Trujillo, 151st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, renders a salute as a KC-135 Stratotanker departs for take-off, March 4, 2016, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Crews from Fairchild AFB, Wash.; McConnell AFB, Kan.; and Roland R. Wright ANG Base, Utah; were tasked to maintain the tanker task force during Red Flag 16-2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Technical orders guide KC-135 Stratotanker maintainers while repairing aircraft, but those TOs don't tell them how to work with Airmen from other bases while on temporary duty.

This tasking of working together was put to the test when active duty, Guard and Reserve crews from Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, McConnell AFB, Kansas, and Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Utah, came together during Red Flag 16-2.

"This situation presented some challenges at first," said Capt. Ian Mazerski, 22nd Maintenance Operations officer in charge. "Our total force integration partners bring different skill sets to the fight and different levels of proficiency."

During the exercise, the tanker task force training objective was a TFI effort among active, Guard and Reserve units with the intention of sharing operations and maintenance function to conduct air refueling support.

"We've deployed with these guys before, and we've done the job many times elsewhere," said Master Sgt. John Lawson, 151st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead crew chief. "You learn to jump in and go with what you know how to do. It's all about getting the job done. Everyone knows we're here to do a job and the active duty Airmen know there's a lot of experience in the guard."

Only two flights were canceled because of maintenance delays during the two week exercise.

"One of our best jets has been a Guard jet, and it's been our workhorse," said Mazerski. "Part of the reason this exercise has been such a success for us is because of the maintainers who know that jet inside and out."