A-Team plays key role in ALTEX/MAFEX success

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 97th Air Mobility Wing conducted an Altus Exercise known as ALTEX, May 23. This exercise would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the 97th Maintenance Directorate, also known as the A-Team.

ALTEX is a local training exercise designed for C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker Formal Training Unit instructors, before they met with aircraft and units from other bases for the Mobility Air Force Exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev.

The ALTEX/MAFEX included five C-17s and five KC-135s, where crews simulated long range, high altitude entrances to multiple airdrops in a low level environment. It also provided an opportunity for FTU instructors to see intensive planning, off-station flying operations, and to lead airdrop instructor upgrade training.

"The role of the A-Team in these exercises starts from the time we are notified from Current Operations that a mission is being planned," said Edward J. Glover, 97th MX C-17 production supervisor. "We then insert aircraft tail numbers into specific missions. ALTEX/MAFEX required four new 'Block 17' aircraft, which have several upgrades to their avionics and other systems. It also required four 'Block 16' aircraft, which were required to be prepped for semi-prepared runway landing, which is landing in the dirt."

The A-Team not only had to prepare the aircraft, they also had to select two personnel per aircraft to fly during the exercise.

"These people are the flying Crew Chiefs and they are responsible for caring for the aircraft while off-station and for reporting to the primary Aircraft Commander about aircraft statuses and maintenance problems," Glover said. "The Crew Chiefs are highly knowledgeable in a vast majority of the aircraft systems and can, in most cases, fix any problems encountered."

Many different sections of the A-Team spent hundreds of man-hours preparing for the ALTEX.

"The most enjoyable part of ALTEX/MAFEX is the feeling you get when all the aircraft are mission ready and they taxi out, along with the feeling of accomplishment when all aircraft and personnel arrive back home after completing the mission."

As a result of all the work put into these exercises, participation in ALTEX/MAFEX resulted in the accomplishment of 451 currency events, lead airdrop upgrade training, planning for two Weapons Undergraduate students from Altus AFB, and increased FTU instructor's experience.