JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
An organization of more than 300 civilians responsible for the upkeep of the Air Force's aging T-38 fleet formally became a squadron during an activation ceremony Dec. 11 in Hangar 76 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
Brig. Gen. Carl Buhler, Ogden Air Logistics Complex commander, presided over the ceremony, recognizing the efforts of the technicians, supervisors and support staff of the 575th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, as well as director Robert Lewin.
"Over the past three years, this team's hard work and dedication have served to prove to our Air Force that you definitely possess the capability, the drive and the motivation to continue providing world-class support for our war fighters' training mission," he said. "And so, just under seven weeks ago today, the fruits of your labor were affirmed when the Air Force recognized and activated this operating location to its rightfully earned status as an Air Force squadron."
The new squadron, formerly the 571st AMXS Operating Location-A, is a geographically separated unit assigned to the Ogden ALC's 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Contractor Lear Sigler Inc. turned over the T-38 depot at JBSA-Randolph to the Air Force in 2010. Since that time, the team has grown and more than 500 aircraft have undergone maintenance, modifications and repairs at the unit's facilities, which comprise five hangars and two support buildings.
Buhler outlined the unit's accomplishments, including the on-time completion of modifications to 110 consecutive aircraft in fiscal 2012 and producing the 300th consecutive on-time jet in fiscal 2013. He also talked about an extensive project the squadron is embarking on.
"Just last week, you began full production on the Pacer Classic III modification, a $240 million maintenance structural mod for 150 T-38s that will extend the life of those airplanes to the year 2029," he said.
Buhler commended the efforts of Lewin, who joined the 571st AMXS OL-A after a 20-year career in the Air Force as an enlisted member and officer who held leadership roles at the flight, squadron and numbered Air Force levels. Among Lewin's accomplishments during his active-duty career was earning the Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award as the best company grade maintenance officer in the Air Force in 2008.
Buhler served as maintenance officer of the Air Force Thunderbirds when Lewin was a crew chief for the demonstration squadron.
"To me, personally, the best leaders are ones that I can trust and I trust Rob implicitly," he said. "And I trust him to lead this squadron in the direction that our Air Force needs it to go in."
Lewin, whose family attended the activation ceremony, also celebrated the accomplishments of the squadron and looked to the future.
"It's not one person or one unit responsible for the success of this squadron, but the collective efforts of an amazing team we've created," he said. "I look forward to a long and collaborative relationship for years to come."