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Maintenance keeps Mad Hatters in the fight

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief stands next the F-15E Strike Eagle that he maintains in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 17. This is Roth’s first Red Flag experience since being stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief stands next the F-15E Strike Eagle that he maintains in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 17. This is Roth’s first Red Flag experience since being stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England in 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief prepares to marshal out an F-15E Strike Eagle in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 22. Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs that is administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief prepares to marshal out an F-15E Strike Eagle in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 22. Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs that is administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief marshals out an F-15E Strike Eagle in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 22. Red Flag is a realistic combat exercise involving U.S. and allied air forces conducing training operations on the 15,000 square mile Nevada Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief marshals out an F-15E Strike Eagle in support of Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada Aug 22. Red Flag is a realistic combat exercise involving U.S. and allied air forces conducing training operations on the 15,000 square mile Nevada Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron have been logging a lot of flight time in support of exercise Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Each sortie puts a lot of wear and tear on the aircraft, and without the skillful attention of the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, they’d never make it off the ground.

For U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabriel Roth, 48th AMXS, dedicated crew chief, Red Flag is an opportunity to embrace the challenges of a large scale exercise and a chance for Royal Air Force Lakenheath Airmen to come together with other participating aircraft maintenance units to work as one cohesive team.

“This is my first Red Flag and it has been an excellent experience,” said Roth. “We’ve been able to bond with the other supporting AMU’s like we’ve been working together for years.”

Roth’s inspiration to join the Air Force derived from his father; who retired from the service as an aircraft loadmaster. When he discovered that there were no open loadmaster positions open at the time of his enlistment, Roth selected what he felt was the next best position, tactical aircraft maintenance.

Maintaining a squadron of F-15E’s is no simple task, and is hardly accomplished by the sweat of one Airman. It’s arduously long hours and requires crew chiefs, electrical and environment systems, integrated avionics, aerospace propulsion and aircraft armament specialists working together to ensure that every aircraft is mission capable, even in the most austere conditions.

“This is a demanding job,” said Roth. “We all work long hours, sometimes in the extreme heat or bitter cold, but it’s worth it, because we all feel like we have a direct impact on the mission every single day.”

Red Flag is the U.S. Air Force’s premier air-to-air combat training exercise and one of a series of advanced training programs that is administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and executed through the 414th Combat Training Squadron.