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JBSA News
NEWS | July 8, 2024

Alamo Wing maintainers accomplish 'historical milestone'

By Julian Hernandez 433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Maintenance Group performed the unit’s first-ever replacement of a General Electric F-138 (CF6) jet engine, which powers the C-5M Super Galaxy, between June 24 and July 3 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.  

Changing out the multi-million dollar, approximately 9,000-pound jet engine is an intensive process requiring Airmen from multiple squadrons and specialties working together to properly disconnect and lower the old engine, then raise and reconnect the new one. 

Alamo Wing maintainers have trained on the process since the transition to the C-5M model in 2016, but there has not been a need to perform the procedure here until now.  

Senior Master Sgt. Sean Preston, 433rd Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight chief and the non-commissioned officer in charge of the engine replacement, pointed out that changing the engine inside a hangar provided a critical training opportunity for Alamo Wing maintainers. 

“It is a major tasking, a job that’s very important,” Preston said. “Especially if the plane breaks out in the field, it’s imperative our newer troops learn how to do this and learn how to do it safely and correctly. It allows us to continue to maintain and fly our aircraft worldwide, in response to any contingency.”  

Demonstrating the interoperability of Air Force Reserve units and their Active-Duty counterparts, the aircraft undergoing maintenance is on loan to the 433rd AW from the 436th AW / 512th AW stationed at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. 

Because this was the first time 433rd MXG Airmen carried out the change, a quality assurance team from Dover Air Force Base flew in to provide additional expertise and advice on lessons learned during other engine changes. 

“The swapping out of this engine was a historical milestone for us here at the 433rd," said Lt. Col. Brandon Rodts, 433rd MXG deputy commander. “The leadership team is proud of what our maintainers have accomplished.” 

“We also appreciated the presence of our wingmen from Dover,” Rodts said. “They lent us some assistance and ensured we were on the right path. Their willingness to share their time and expertise shows how interconnected the C-5 community is and demonstrates the strength of our relationships with sister units, proving we can rely on them in a time of need.”  

With the hard work completed, Senior Airman Evan Sherman, a 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician, recognized the value of the professional development opportunity. 

“It was a great learning experience, especially taking some of the things I already knew and applying them in a new situation,” Sherman said. “We learned a lot of little tips and tricks that will help us move faster and more efficiently next time while staying safe. I felt confident the whole time because I had my sergeants and supervisors out here. They trust me, so I’m going to trust myself.”