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436th Maintenance Squadron mission continues despite COVID-19

Five 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel pose for a group photo in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 10, 2020. Dover AFB maintenance personnel continue to support operations despite significantly reduced manning and increased health protection measures such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and wash or sanitizing hands frequently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Five 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel pose for a group photo in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 10, 2020. Dover AFB maintenance personnel continue to support operations despite significantly reduced manning and increased health protection measures such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and wash or sanitizing hands frequently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill to place stands close to the side of a C-5 Super Galaxy engine at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. The stands are guided close to the Super Galaxy to allow maintenance personnel to work on the aircraft at all levels. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill to place stands close to the side of a C-5 Super Galaxy engine at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. The stands are guided close to the Super Galaxy to allow maintenance personnel to work on the aircraft at all levels. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

A C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, California, is parked on the flight line at Dover AFB, Delaware, April 8, 2020. The C-5C SCM has the troop compartment removed and a modification to the rear loading doors. It is specially modified to carry satellites and other large cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

A C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, California, is parked on the flight line at Dover AFB, Delaware, April 8, 2020. The C-5C SCM has the troop compartment removed and a modification to the rear loading doors. It is specially modified to carry satellites and other large cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

A C-5M Super Galaxy undergoes a major isochronal inspection by 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel at the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Personnel wore cloth masks and practiced social distancing as much as possible while performing maintenance on the Super Galaxy to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

A C-5M Super Galaxy undergoes a major isochronal inspection by 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel at the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Personnel wore cloth masks and practiced social distancing as much as possible while performing maintenance on the Super Galaxy to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Five 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel pose for a group photo in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 10, 2020. Dover AFB maintenance personnel continue to support operations despite significantly reduced manning and increased health protection measures such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and wash or sanitizing hands frequently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Five 436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel pose for a group photo in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 10, 2020. Dover AFB maintenance personnel continue to support operations despite significantly reduced manning and increased health protection measures such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and wash or sanitizing hands frequently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill to place stands close to the side of a C-5 Super Galaxy engine at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020.  Moody wears a cloth mask  in accordance with Department of Defense instruction to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill to place stands close to the side of a C-5 Super Galaxy engine at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Moody wears a cloth mask in accordance with Department of Defense instruction to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody (left), 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill while Senior Airman Nicholas Gardiner (right), C-5 regional isochronal journeyman, directs him April 9, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody (left), 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, uses a stand-up drill while Senior Airman Nicholas Gardiner (right), C-5 regional isochronal journeyman, directs him April 9, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, places a guardrail on the side of stands at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Guardrails are placed around all the stands as a safety measure to protect Airmen. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Robert Moody, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal apprentice, places a guardrail on the side of stands at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Guardrails are placed around all the stands as a safety measure to protect Airmen. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel place guardrails along the edges of the stands in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Maintenance personnel wear cloth masks and try to maintain social distance from one another to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while performing their duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

436th Maintenance Squadron aircraft maintenance personnel place guardrails along the edges of the stands in the Isochronal Inspection Dock on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, April 9, 2020. Maintenance personnel wear cloth masks and try to maintain social distance from one another to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while performing their duties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Senior Airman Raynard Ruiz-Sepulveda, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal journeyman, operates auxiliary power units April 8, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Ruiz-Sepulveda monitors APUs and fuel gauges to ensure the C-5 is running properly while being worked on by maintenance and electrical personnel. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)
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Senior Airman Raynard Ruiz-Sepulveda, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal journeyman, operates auxiliary power units April 8, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Ruiz-Sepulveda monitors APUs and fuel gauges to ensure the C-5 is running properly while being worked on by maintenance and electrical personnel. Despite the threat of COVID-19, Dover AFB Airmen continue to support heavy airlift operations while observing safety precautions such as wearing cloth masks, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

A C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, California, is parked on the flight line at Dover AFB, Delaware, April 8, 2020. The C-5C SCM has the troop compartment removed and a modification to the rear loading doors. It is specially modified to carry satellites and other large cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)
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A C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, California, is parked on the flight line at Dover AFB, Delaware, April 8, 2020. The C-5C SCM has the troop compartment removed and a modification to the rear loading doors. It is specially modified to carry satellites and other large cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

The 436th Maintenance Squadron technicians still keep the mission going despite COVID-19, ensuring the C-5s of the world’s greatest Air Force are up and running.

The team is currently tasked with working on one major inspection on a C-5C Space Cargo Modified Galaxy that belongs to Travis Air Force Base, California, and one minor inspection on a local C-5M Super Galaxy.

“We just finished an engine run, auxiliary power unit check and pressurization run on the C-5C outside. After that was completed, we towed the aircraft into a fuel cell, so everything fuel-related can be worked on inside a special hangar that is just for fuel work,” said Senior Airman Nicholas Gardiner, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 regional isochronal journeyman. “Right after the C-5C was towed in, we had to get ready for the tail stand of the other inspection we are working on for the Dover C-5M.”

They must complete six major and three minor isochronal inspections per year under the Regionalized Isochronal Inspection Concept of Operations. Each major inspection is allocated 57 days, and minors are 26. 436th MXS and its geographically separated contingent at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, handle the isochronal inspections for the entire fleet of 50 C-5M's and two C-5C’s that belong to the four Total Force wings that fly C-5s. 

With the annual quota of inspections required, despite the COVID-19 threat, the team continues to work with half of their force on duty while the other half is on standby. Under the current operations tempo, technicians work shifts around the clock to keep the C-5s flying.

“One of the biggest preventative measures that we are taking is splitting our folks,” said Tech. Sgt. Adam Padoll, isochronal night shift supervisor. “So right now, the team that is working this week will be off next week, and a new team will be coming in. That allows us to keep the capabilities we need, so we can perform our mission on time.”

The teams are also provided with the proper personal protective equipment to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

“We have gloves that we use both for our maintenance tasks, but we are also using for the stop of spreading things,” said Padoll. “We also are using cleaning supplies, making sure we take care of our facility, sanitizing that while additionally sanitizing our tools once we are done using them for the night, so we don’t transmit that to the next group. Additionally, we are wearing masks, because sometimes, completing the mission requires us to be close.”

The night shift team that usually has at least 14 members is down to seven Airmen. With manning being cut in half and the team still needing to complete the mission on time, Gardiner assures everyone that it is only making them stronger.

“With the teams being small, you get really close to a lot of the guys you work with here and learn a lot from one another,” said Gardiner. “We built a great team here, and all the guys I work with are amazing. I trust them with anything that they do and would fly on any of the aircraft that they work on.”