Article Display

Corrosion control facility: taking art to the skies

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dallin Wrye
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

An Airman zips the front of an all-white jumpsuit and as he pulls his respirator over his face, he is ready to start transforming the F-16.

Airmen assigned to the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron corrosion control facility are in charge of maintaining 20th Operations Group aircraft outside appearance. The paint contains radar absorbing material, which makes a fresh coat of paint vital to mission success. From sanding and removing corrosion on parts from other units, to painting the jet and its tail flashes, the corrosion shop makes sure the F-16 Viper is always operational.

“On a normal day, we get parts in from aerospace ground equipment to support the equipment that comes in from back shop, as well as panels and parts that come from phase,” said. Tech. Sgt. Michael Chapman, 20th EMS corrosion control noncommissioned officer in charge. “Today we are working on a full paint and with this jet, the intake lip requires painting.”

Over time the Viper’s paint slowly wears, dents and scratches. At a predetermined time, the corrosion control facility comes into play to begin their work.

There are multiple steps in the painting process requiring time and precision to make sure everything is at the highest standard.

“Once the intake lip is sprayed, then the jet is sanded, that's when we do the wipe down process, begin priming and then do a top coat of paint,” said Chapman. “With one jet we're typically done in five days. That's because the people that are out there are very skilled and we have everything mapped out perfectly.”

The corrosion control facility paints one jet per quarter on average, but they don’t only do simple paint jobs. All of the heritage tails on Shaw are also done by 20th EMS Airmen.

“We paint all of the really cool aircraft that you see every day,” said Staff Sgt. Dylan Garrett, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman. “I feel like that is the best part, you get to go out on the flightline and see all of your work, it feels good.”

The Airmen at the 20th EMS take pride in their hard work, and represent their unit by marking each F-16 with their section emblem, an alpaca.

“Seeing what these guys can do and seeing the paint jobs that come out of the 20th EMS makes me proud to be the NCOIC here,” said Chapman. “These guys here do an awesome job and when you drive down the flightline you can tell they slowed down, took the time, ended the job right and it looks great.”