Hidden in plain sight: Eielson LO shop deemed gold standard

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval
  • 354th Fighter Wing / Public Affairs

The F-35A Lightning II is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter providing enhanced situational awareness, reduced vulnerability, and next-generation stealth.

The Airmen assigned to 354th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Low Observable section carry the responsibility of maintaining the stealth capabilities on these fighters. 

“We primarily apply, remove, and restore radar coatings to the F-35 to make sure our enemies can’t see us,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Gay, Low Observable Aircraft Structural craftsman. “Our processes here are established by the combination of B-2, F-22, and prior experience of the F-35 and all of that knowledge at Eielson has resulted in one of the best processes that I’ve seen.”

The section is run efficiently through the communication and hard work between noncommissioned officers and airmen.

“My role as an NCO is to monitor the health of the fleet and ensure that our F-35s are always ready to go for any kind of scenario,” added Gay. “Our Airmen here are the backbone of our boots on the ground, especially when it comes to maintenance.”

For most of the units at Eielson, the Arctic can create challenging conditions and for the LO section it is no different. Overcoming some of these conditions adds to the dedication and adaptability on display.

“The cold and dryness of the weather can mess with what we are working with,” added U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William Durbin, Low Observable Aircraft Structural journeyman. “We really want to get as much done as we can in a timely manner and deliver the best product for this aircraft.”

This continued team work has led to the successful operability at Eielson and the success has not gone unnoticed.

“Coming from Lockheed Martin, Eielson is the gold standard for LO processes,” added Gay. “And with all these challenges, I’m really proud of our Airmen and what they’re doing is amazing.”