103rd Airlift Wing's jet engine Centralized Repair Facility commemorates its 100th TF-34 engine

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  • By 103rd Maintenance Squadron
  • 103rd Maintenance Squadron
Through the hard work and efforts of the members of the 103rd Maintenance Squadron, the 103d Airlift Wing reached a new milestone; the 100th A-10 ,TF-34 jet engine was completed at Bradley Air National Guard Base's centralized repair facility (CRF) on Oct. 10, 2011. A combined value of over $130 million of Air National Guard and active duty Air Force equipment has been overhauled and shipped through the gates of the 103rd Airlift Wing since the creation of the 103rd Maintenance Squadron's CRF in May of 2007.

"This is yet another example of the men and women of the 103rd Airlift Wing keeping our Air National Guard performing at the highest possible level. I am very pleased as the 103 CRF is now positioned to meet mission needs well into the future and will serve as a primary maintenance and training facility of the 103rd Airlift Wing," said Col. Frank Detorie, 103rd Airlift Wing Commander.

Additionally, "the accomplishment of maintaining the jet engines is a matter of pride, culture, and family history for our members. The desire to excel in this industry is ingrained in those who live in this area of the country," said Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo P. Apruzzese, TF34 CRF aerospace propulsion chief.

"It took two and a half years to complete the first 50 engines but only 17 months to complete the second 50. This achievement not only validates the consistent solid performance by CRF personnel since the site activation task force [SATAF] in 2007, but also the positive impact training, experience and process improvement has had on the timeline of each engine overhauled," said Apruzzese.

This remarkable achievement is even more rewarding and fulfilling to the CRF personnel as the unit maintained zero returns since the first engine shipped to Fort Smith Air National Guard Base-Fort Smith, Arkansas on Nov. 1, 2007.

One of the missions of the CRF is to overhaul TF-34's at the immediate maintenance level. The squadron inducts engines from bases throughout the world, including areas supporting overseas operational contingencies.

"The function of our CRF operation is ensuring each engine is serviceable with optimum performance as we contribute to the mission of keeping A-10s a viable and a lethal platform for many more years," said Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Wheeler, the component maintenance flight chief for the 103rd Maintenance Squadron.

Lt. Col. Wayne B. Ferris, commander, 103rd Maintenance Squadron, said, "The 103rd Maintenance Group has always maintained the edge over other organizations in a number of areas. We were the first unit to utilize a new type of inlet ring that eliminated the potential of [damage] from rivets installed on previous inlet ring models. We were first to devise procedures and design the tooling that made it possible to remove and replace parts of the variable guide vane arms without removal and disassembly of the engine. In fact, General Electric has relied on Bradley and has looked to us as leaders in the field because of our can do attitude, the expert advice we provide and our ability to get the job done. We have worked closely with GE to retrofit parts, test various sections of the engine and provide input and expertise on modifications and upgrades."

Every month since the creation of the CRF in 2007, the CRF has increased production to a current average of 3.4 engines per month.

The CRF recently relocated into its new state-of-the-art new facility. An $8.3 million dollar project significantly improved and expanded the existing TF-34 Engine repair facility's capabilities and now is a 36,000 square- foot facility that facilitated increased turbine engine maintenance and repair for the engines of 78 Air National Guard A-10s, as well as those from two active-duty units. This facility also added 17,000 square-feet of work space, offices, training and break areas as well as upgrading the previously existing 7,120 square-feet to meet current code requirements.

"This is yet another great benchmark for the 103rd as the Connecticut Air National Guard continues to progress in fulfilling its responsibility of providing both state and federal missions with the finest jet engines in the nation," said Lt. Col. Gerald McDonald, 103rd Maintenance Group Commander. "We employ a seasoned and diverse workforce that posses a variety of skills in the aviation field. Our personnel have extensive exposure to the large aviation industry of the northeast. This milestone continues the progression of the total force with the National Guard and active duty Air Force, as well as the overwhelming professionalism the 103rd delivers to the world," he said.

"With increased production capability, a second test cell currently being assembled to run additional engines and a greater ability to streamline the overhaul process, future engines will able to find their way into the A-10 community in even less time, maintaining the expected quality of the 103rd CRF's engines, said Tech. Sgt. Steven Sevigny, Work Production Lead.