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Forward-based unit keeps Pacific Command wired

  • Published
  • By Scott Hallford
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
With hundreds of aircraft in the Pacific theater supporting the interests of the United States and its allies, electronic components are critical. Aircraft are durable and delicate at the same time and getting a replacement part in a timely fashion keeps the war birds in the fight.

The Kadena-based 525th Electronic Maintenance Squadron provides parts and repair for not only the 18th Wing but multiservice air assets in the region. The squadron is part of Support Center Pacific but organizationally belongs to the 309th Electronics Maintenance Group. The 309th EMXG, in turn, is part of the 309th Maintenance Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, part of  Air Force Materiel Command.

According to Jeff Webster, 525th EMXS chief of maintenance production and acting director, the squadron provides more in-depth support than what flight line maintainers can.

"We do what wing level maintainers can't do and can have a part or a team in Korea or mainland Japan in a couple of hours," Mr. Webster said.

He also points out that they and the parts are here. 

"Because we are forward-based, units can avoid what would be a 10-14 day delay for stateside support," he said. "We have the equipment and expertise right here in theater and we're all mission essential, so in a war contingency, we stay to provide support."

Most of the 82 members of the 525th EMXS are technicians with an average of 20 years experience. They completed more than 84,000 man-hours last year in support of Kadena and other Pacific assets.

"The Support Center Pacific has provided Kadena with depot-level expertise for many years," said Col. John Harris, 18th Maintenance Group commander. "For the 18th Wing to survive into the future with reduced manning, experience and aircraft that are getting steadily older, we are going to have to rely even more on the 525th EMXS. We use them more than ever and they have been instrumental in repairing aircraft problems that are beyond our ability."

The squadron's expertise oversees an industrial shop that handles primary generators for C-130, F-15 and F-16 aircraft; a paint section; a structures and metal fabrication section; and a hydraulics section. Its avionics shop works on components for F-15 and F-16s. The conventional shop works on generator control units, weather radar systems, instrumentation and radios. Manufacture and repair of electrical harnesses takes place in the cable shop where they also work on armament and electrical systems, air ground equipment, computers, weapons, and F-15 secondary power cables.

"We also provided some electrical wiring harness support for the (1-1 Air Defense Artillery) Patriots here," said Mr. Webster. "We're also the only unit placing seven wiring harnesses into one secondary power cable."

The squadron also boasts having the only two diagnostic machines in the Air Force that tests multiple components on a variety of aircraft whereas others are for specific aircraft.