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Golden Eagles Come to Roost

Portland Air National Guard Base, PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two F-15 C&D model Golden Eagles arrived on base April 30, 2010 in the first wave of modified aircraft from the active duty Air Force that will eventually replace the current inventory here.

The newly arrived F-15 Golden Eagles were flown here on base Thursday from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. This is a significant milestone for the unit because these aircraft are scheduled to be the primary airframe at the Portland Air National Guard Base for the foreseeable future.

The 'Golden Eagles' are F-15 C & D models which have been, and will continue to be modified with various systems to help the aircraft keep pace with technological advancements and extend the life of the F-15. These two aircraft come from active duty with approximately 8000 hours on them according to said Chief Master Sgt. John Rasmussen, quality assurance superintendant for the 142nd Fighter Wing.

"The interesting thing is that some of these same aircraft came through here when they were new in 1984 on a layover to Elmendorf and everyone came out to check them out," said Rasmussen.
The first order of business is to complete a thorough inspection once the aircraft are received. Rasmussen said the maintenance squadron would review the past maintenance records, but this does not always provide a complete picture of the condition of the aircraft.

"First thing we do is a safety of flight inspection, we want to try and find anything that may have been missed," Rasmussen said.

After addressing the immediate issues, the next order of business is to inspect the Golden Eagles for items that will be addressed in the long-term maintenance schedule. As the stewards of these aircraft for the future, Rasmussen touted the vast experience of the 142 MXM members and their capability to bring the aircraft up to 142nd Fighter Wing standards.

Rasmussen said the 142nd Fighter Wing has master sergeants and senior master sergeants who have been working on the same airframe for 20 years or more. He said this is rare to see in an active duty maintenance shop.

Rasmussen pointed out the different workers walking around on top of the aircraft and inspecting on the May 1st-May 2nd, 2010 drill weekend:
"There's the fuel shop evaluating fuel leaks, the structural guy taking a look at the plane," Rasmussen said.

One of those workers, Electrical Systems Specialist Technical Sgt. Alexander Kent, said he was working with airmen from their squadron on a 10-day inspection on a recently received Golden Eagle.

"It's a good opportunity to help get guardsmen experience on the new aircraft," said Kent.
As the Golden Eagle starts to replace the current fleet, the capabilities of the maintenance squadron are well summed up by Rasmussen:

"Sometimes the maintenance view can become 'leave it for the next guy'...we are the next guy."