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SWA’s Strategic Maintainers Keep Mobility Assets Flying: Airmen of the 8th Expeditionary Aircraft Squadron Maintenance Flight in Southwest Asia ensure the heavily used C-17 strategic airlifters and larger C-5 transports maintain their sortie rate, and they also handle some transient maintenance duties for the KC-135 and KC-10 tanker part of the mobility fleet. What was once a job that included aircraft launch and recovery and parts replacement now also routinely includes backshop maintenance work, such as maintaining structures and repairing fuel cells or, in one case, a torn thrust reverser. Taking on the additional duties, reports Air Force journalist Maj. Ann Peru Knabe, means the aircraft can stay in theater. Maj. Edward Sekerak, strategic maintenance officer in charge, said that the unit is no longer a “gas-n-go” operation. He explained, “If you can’t fix an aircraft here, you need to send it out of the theater, and subsequently we lose warfighting capabilities.”