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Honorary commanders get first-hand look at Reserve aircraft maintenance

Tech Sgts. Victor Fernandez, left, and Charlie Morales, 433rd Maintenance Squadron aerospace wheel and tire technicians, demonstrate equipment used by the wheel and tire shop to 433rd Airlift Wing honorary commanders Sept. 17, 2016 during a tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen use the equipment to maintain and perform safety checks of the tires of the C-5M Super Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

Tech Sgts. Victor Fernandez, left, and Charlie Morales, 433rd Maintenance Squadron aerospace wheel and tire technicians, demonstrate equipment used by the wheel and tire shop to 433rd Airlift Wing honorary commanders Sept. 17, 2016 during a tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen use the equipment to maintain and perform safety checks of the tires of the C-5M Super Galaxy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

Honorary commanders of the 433rd Airlift Wing and their guests witnessed firsthand the differences between the engines of the C-5A and C-5M Galaxy models during the annual honorary commanders tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group Sept. 17, 2016 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.  The honorary commanders program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas, share experiences and foster friendships between key members of the local civilian community and the Joint Base San Antonio military community.  The program provides a unique opportunity for San Antonio area community leaders to shadow the 433rd AW, group and squadron commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

Honorary commanders of the 433rd Airlift Wing and their guests witnessed firsthand the differences between the engines of the C-5A and C-5M Galaxy models during the annual honorary commanders tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group Sept. 17, 2016 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The honorary commanders program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas, share experiences and foster friendships between key members of the local civilian community and the Joint Base San Antonio military community. The program provides a unique opportunity for San Antonio area community leaders to shadow the 433rd AW, group and squadron commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

Tech. Sgt. David Ponce, 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, explains some of the features and upgrades of the new C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft to 433rd Airlift Wing honorary commanders Sept. 17, 2016 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. This was the first honorary commander’s tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group since the Alamo Wing received the new C-5M models. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

Tech. Sgt. David Ponce, 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, explains some of the features and upgrades of the new C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft to 433rd Airlift Wing honorary commanders Sept. 17, 2016 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. This was the first honorary commander’s tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group since the Alamo Wing received the new C-5M models. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Bryan Swink)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-Lackland -- Ten 433rd Airlift Wing honorary commanders received an in-depth tour of the 433rd Maintenance Group here Sept. 17 where they were greeted by Col. Gretchen Wiltse, 433rd Maintenance Group commander and host for the day.

During the tour, the San Antonio community leaders visited a C-5M Super Galaxy on the flight line, the wheel and tire shop, metals technology and sheet metal shops, the propulsion shop and took an official group photo with the 433rd MXG in front of a C-5A Galaxy.

The purpose of the tour of the maintenance group is give local community leaders a chance to better understand a vital part of the 433rd Airlift Wing’s mission.

"We love to host these tours for our community leaders to showcase what our citizen Airmen do for the Air Force and the vital role they play within our San Antonio community," Wiltse said. “Many of them have no idea what goes on behind the gates of our base and this allows them to see how our amazing Airmen can react and respond to any situation at a moment’s notice.”

The morning began with a daily briefing led by Wiltse and other leaders within the 433rd MXG to go over what to expect for the day and to give an overview of the 433rd AW mission.

The tour moved out to the flight line where the honorary commanders and their guests took an official photo in front of the last C-5A Galaxy in the Air Force’s fleet. They were briefed on the differences between the C-5A and C-5M and the upgrades the C-5 has gone through within the last few years.

“Last year we received a tour of the C-5A and to now see the new ‘M’ model and hear about all the advantages like fuel cost savings and efficiency is quite unbelievable,” said John Smith, 433rd Security Forces Squadron honorary commander who works for the Department of Homeland Security. “I can only imagine how complicated the transition must have been but you wouldn’t be able to tell by how knowledgeable these Airmen are who work on the new model.”

After spending time on the flight line and getting a first-hand look at the C-5M, the honorary commanders moved throughout the maintenance group touring a couple of the units that provide invaluable service to keep the largest aircraft in the Air Force’s inventory in the air.

One of the highlights for Patricia Revollo, the first-year honorary commander for the 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was visiting the metals technology and sheet metal shops of the 433rd MXG. The C-5s the Alamo Wing flies were originally built by Lockheed in the 1960's, and discontinued in 1973. Therefore, many of the parts for the aircraft have to be made in house.

"This is really amazing,” said Revollo, the district manager for Starbucks. “To see them completely take a piece of metal and do whatever needs to be done to make the part fit on this aircraft that’s more than 50 years old is really incredible. What’s even more amazing is that most of these Airmen are students at a local college or have full time jobs but can come in when necessary and create a perfect piece of the aircraft from scratch.”

The tour concluded with a question and answer segment at the 433rd MXG headquarters. This tour allowed the honorary commanders to see exactly how vital the maintenance group is to the success of the 433rd AW as a whole.

"Without maintenance, nothing exists," said Steve Richmond, 433rd Logistics Readiness Squadron honorary commander who is in charge of restaurant maintenance for his families' pizza establishments. "Maintenance is an expense, but without it, nothing works," he said.

The 433rd Airlift Wing Honorary Commanders program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas, share experiences and foster friendships between key members of the local civilian community and the Joint Base San Antonio military community. The program provides a unique opportunity for San Antonio area community leaders to shadow the 433rd AW, group and squadron commanders.

For more information about the Alamo Wing's Honorary Commanders program, contact the 433rd AW Public Affairs office at 925-5194.