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7th EMS keeps Bones mission ready

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alex Bloom, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, inspects area two of a B-1B Lancer Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Inspections such as this are designed to ensure the aircraft is operating safety and correctly prior to flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alex Bloom, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, inspects area two of a B-1B Lancer Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Inspections such as this are designed to ensure the aircraft is operating safety and correctly prior to flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tia Meredith, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, follows her technical order while inspecting turbo compressors on a B-1B Lancer Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Meredith inspects for anything that could possibly cause damage to an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tia Meredith, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, follows her technical order while inspecting turbo compressors on a B-1B Lancer Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Meredith inspects for anything that could possibly cause damage to an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chris Alston, left, and Staff Sgt. Danel Mendoza, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, inspect a F101-102 engine of a B-1B Lancer for leaks or damage Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Inspecting for leaks is one of many virtual tasks performed by 7 EMS Airman, to ensure aircraft are safe for flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chris Alston, left, and Staff Sgt. Danel Mendoza, 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, inspect a F101-102 engine of a B-1B Lancer for leaks or damage Nov. 8, 2013, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Inspecting for leaks is one of many virtual tasks performed by 7 EMS Airman, to ensure aircraft are safe for flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kia Atkins/Released)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Unlike all the king's horses and all the king's men, Airmen from the 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron can take it apart, inspect it, repair it and put it back together again. It's not Humpty Dumpty they're working on though; it's the B-1 Bomber.

"The first couple of days when the aircraft comes to us, we take off all the panels and we start inspecting it," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Coker, 7th EMS crew chief. "We inspect everything and make sure everything works properly. If we don't do that, the jets aren't going to be able to fly and that's going to affect the pilot's training time."

After they are finished with their inspections, they re-panel the aircraft and perform a quality assurance check. If the aircraft passes, they tow it to the backline.

"When it's sent to the backline, we perform leak checks and auxiliary power unit and engine runs," Coker said. "If everything works out right, we send it back to the flightline."

Providing a product to the flightline is the mission of the 7th EMS, and they do this by performing their scheduled inspections in a timely manner so that the aircraft can do what they're made to do: fly.

"If our shop was gone for a couple of days, I think that just about everybody would be affected," Coker said. "If crew chiefs didn't exist, the jets would break and the pilots don't know how to fix them. What we do here is very vital. We keep the jets in the air, so they can do what they are designed to do."

Without maintainers to fix the aircraft, the 7th Bomb Wing's mission of providing dominant air power and combat support to combatant and joint force commanders anytime, anywhere might prove too difficult a task.

"Our job is to return aircraft back to the flightline, because these jets have to be ready," said Staff Sgt. Danel Mendoza, 7th EMS. "The jet that we're working on right now has more than 10,000 flying hours on it; it has dropped a lot of bombs. So if we weren't here to execute our mission, there would be no aircraft ready for deployments and we couldn't fly, fight and win."

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