Airmen, Sailors Prepare to Support F-35 at Sea

33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs // August 22, 2017

Two Petty Officers 1st Class from the USS Abraham Lincoln received initial training from the U.S. Air Force’s 33rd Maintenance Squadron’s Aerospace Ground Equipment flight here, Aug. 7-11, 2017

The Sailors, Petty Officers 1st Class Jeremiah Appel and Kunthea Sam, received the training in preparation for F-35 operations onboard their ship. In the future, when the F-35C is training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, these technicians will be able to operate and maintain the aircraft.

“We are here to familiarize ourselves with what we can expect on the ship when F-35s are on board, allowing us to be fully functional,” said Appel, a CVN-72, trainee. “When we do return to our command we will be capable enough to handle any situations that come up.”

The 33rd MXS’s joint environment and extensive experience with both aircraft variants’ support equipment makes the maintainers here most qualified to train and develop the Sailor’s skills.

The Aerospace Ground Equipment flight here has a unique mission supporting both the Air Force 58th Fighter Squadron’s F-35As and the Navy VFA-101’s F-35Cs. The Airmen and Sailors assigned to the unit work hand-in-hand with both aircraft.

“(These Sailors) are here because we are the people who are the most capable of providing them with this training,” said U.S. Navy Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Eric Stark, 33rd MXS Aerospace Ground Equipment, trainer. “We’ve worked with this equipment the longest, making us the most experienced.”

The aerospace ground equipment flight operates and maintains the machines that supply electricity, air pressure and hydraulic pressure to the aircraft when the engine is not running.

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