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No air power without AGE power

Senior Airman Esequiel Borunda, an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician with the 162nd Fighter Wing, attaches a lift to an engine before removing it from a piece of AGE. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Davis/Released)

Senior Airman Esequiel Borunda, an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician with the 162nd Fighter Wing, attaches a lift to an engine before removing it from a piece of AGE. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Davis/Released)

Senior Airman Andre Bia, an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician with the 162nd Fighter Wing, operates a lift to extract an engine from a piece of AGE. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Davis/Released)

Senior Airman Andre Bia, an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician with the 162nd Fighter Wing, operates a lift to extract an engine from a piece of AGE. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Davis/Released)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- "No air power without ground power" is more than just a motto for the men and women of the 162nd Fighter Wing Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight - it's also a way of life. From the newest Airmen in the work center to superintendent, the AGE team understands the importance of their job and they take pride in their work. AGE plays an irreplaceable role in the safety, timeliness and readiness of our F-16's and their pilots.

The mission of AGE is to "provide the safest, cleanest and best-maintained equipment for the flight line and maintenance back shops," said Senior Master Sgt. Franklin Paredes, Superintendent of the AGE Flight. Paredes is in charge of more than 35 Airmen and has been a member of the AGE work center for 30 years. The AGE Flight is responsible for providing equipment that simulates F-16 operations so aircraft maintenance can be performed in a safe and controlled environment.

In his 30 years as an AGE technician, Paredes' favorite aspect of his career field is the variety of equipment that is maintained. You get a chance to work on electrical systems, diesel and gas engines, jet engines, hydraulics, HVAC equipment, bomb lifts and so much more, he said. It's a well-rounded career field, and AGE is also constantly changing as upgrades are always on the horizon, he said. "If you put yourself into it, you'll never stop learning," said Paredes.

Senior Airman Andre Bia, an AGE technician who has been with the work center nearly two years, believes the variety of equipment and multitude of training opportunities provide boundless potential for skills development within the career field.

There is always work to be done and it's never the same as there are so many different units to work on, Bia said. His favorite piece of equipment is the Dash-60, a generator used to provide AC and DC power for aircraft electrical systems, and he learns something every time he works on the system because of its numerous components and complicated mechanics, Bia said.

Senior Airman Esequiel Borunda, an AGE technician who has been in the work center for nearly four years, also enjoys the variety of equipment they maintain. "We're not always working on the same thing," said Borunda.

Each day they work on a different piece of equipment, and the portion of the equipment they work on changes frequently as well, said Borunda.

Maintenance of AGE is performed in an assembly line fashion with technicians assigned to various phases on a rotating basis, said Paredes. This process keeps the work center's technicians engaged and well versed in their equipment functionality. The assembly line operations require teamwork, which can be seen throughout the AGE work center as soon as you walk through the door.

"We have a really good team and a great group of people," said Paredes. "If something needs to be accomplished, they get it done."

"People really know their jobs here," said Bia. "Senior leaders are helpful to younger troops. They care about our education and take the time to guide us," he said.

"No air power without ground power" is more than just a motto to this team of knowledgeable and motivated Airmen. Their caring determination can be seen in their teamwork, their timeliness and organization, and their eagerness to provide the Maintenance Squadron with pristine equipment to keep the mission going.