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News > Feature - Fairchild maintainer keeps KC-135s flying in Kyrgyzstan; earns 'Warrior of the Week' honors
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 Senior Airman Ryan O'Farrell is a 376th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief deployed to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Airman O'Farrell is deployed from the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., and his hometown is Roseville, Calif.
 
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Warrior of the Week
Senior Airman Ryan O'Farrell is a 376th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief deployed to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Here he is pictured while working on Nov. 3, 2010. Airman O'Farrell is deployed from the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., and his hometown is Roseville, Calif. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Nathan Bevier)
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Fairchild maintainer keeps KC-135s flying in Kyrgyzstan; earns 'Warrior of the Week' honors

Posted 11/9/2010   Updated 11/9/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


11/9/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Every day, Senior Airman Ryan O'Farrell is out on the flightline at his deployed base looking over the KC-135R Stratotanker he's assigned to maintain and keep ready for a mission at a moment's notice.

As a KC-135R crew chief, Airman O'Farrell, who is deployed with the 376th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, has to know all about the plane -- from the nose to the top of the tail and from wing tip to wing tip.

A KC-135 has a range of more than 1,500 miles with 150,000 pounds of transfer fuel capability, it's Air Force fact sheet shows. From Kyrgyzstan, the KC-135s deployed there are "integral" to supporting Operation Enduring Freedom air refueling requirements and Airman O'Farrell said he knows how important his job is to that mission.

"I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when the chips are down and we pull together as a team to get jets in the air and gas downrange," Airman "O'Farrell said in a 376th AEW Public Affairs news report. "No matter what the situation is maintenance will make it happen."

The official Air Force job description for a crew chief states that maintainers like Airman O'Farrell advise on problems maintaining, servicing and inspecting aircraft and they use technical data to diagnose and solve maintenance problems on aircraft systems. Crew chiefs also troubleshoot and maintain aircraft structures, systems, components and support equipment. They also supervise and perform aircraft and component inspections and interpret inspection findings and determine adequacy of corrective actions.

Furthermore, in his job, Airman O'Farrell, whose hometown is Roseville, Calif., inspects and checks components for clearances, tolerances, proper installation and operation and inspects and operates powered and non-powered aerospace ground equipment, identifies aircraft corrosion for prevention and correction, and reviews maintenance forms, aircraft records and reports to ensure complete documentation.

Airman O'Farrell's work is among several maintenance specialties who maintain the KC-135 for deployed operations. There are KC-135 crew chiefs and Airmen specializing in instrument and flight control maintenance, communications and navigation, hydraulics, aerospace propulsion, fuels, electrical and environmental systems and aero repair.

Airman O'Farrell described his support for the 376th EAMXS. "(I) help maintain a fleet of 10-plus KC135 Stratotankers," he said in the news report. As part of being a crew chief, he also supports "parts ordering and maintaining a computer-based forms continuity program."

The California native was also recently recognized for doing his job well by his deployed leadership - earning 376th AEW "Warrior of the Week" honors for the first week of November. According to the news report, to earn the honors, an Airman "is recognized based on outstanding performance, good conduct, work ethic, and most importantly, for a job well done."

The senior airman said he credits his father for his work ethic to do well in his job.

"My father was my favorite mentor," said Airman O'Farrell, who is deployed from the 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base. Wash. "He taught me the meaning of hard work, earning your way in life and honesty is the answer."

In joining the military, Airman O'Farrell said it was "always something that had been in the back of my mind as long as I could remember."

"I felt that if I didn't serve at least in some capacity, I would be selling myself short of a good life experience," he said.

In addition to the KC-135, the 376th AEW also has C-17 Globemaster III aircraft assigned. On the air refueling side in 2009, KC-135s deployed there off-loaded more than 190 million pounds of fuel to more than 14,500 receivers during 3,400-plus missions.

The Transit Center at Manas was activated in December 2001 when coalition forces deployed to Manas International Airport and began supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 376th AEW fact sheet states. The base continues to promote regional stability in Central Asia.



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