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Tip of the spear: Grand Forks AFB provides new AF capability


One of the top priorities of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command is to execute and sustain rapid global mobility by providing the ability to project power, influence and assistance responsively with unrivaled speed and precision to any point on the globe. A group of Airmen with the 69th Reconnaissance Group recently employed a new Air Force capability to ensure AMC’s priority can be met. A team of six Airmen, led by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Paserba, 69th Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection section chief, completed the first Mobile Automated Scanner scan by members of the U.S. Air Force in March 2017 on Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Col. Christopher Larson, 69th RG commander, highlighted the significance of this achievement.

“The nondestructive Inspection technicians assigned to the 69th Maintenance Squadron performed the first-ever Air Force-led ultrasonic inspection on a RQ-4B Global Hawk,” said Larson. “The inspection verified the structural integrity of the aircraft’s 130-plus foot wingspan and required roughly 400 man-hours to complete. This specific aircraft is one of only three specialized mission aircraft in the world--it is a proven lifesaving asset and true combat force multiplier.” 


Paserba and his team had just four months to learn how to properly complete the inspection, which was previously completed by experienced members of Northrop Grumman. Paserba was pleased with the results of their first inspection.


“It feels good to know that my folks were the ones who performed the first 650-flight interval inspection on a Global Hawk by Air Force personnel,” said Paserba. “Leading up to the inspection, I was expecting it to take us a month given the poor condition of the aircraft’s paint and it being our first time doing this inspection.”


Despite his original expectations, the team exemplified excellence in their first try.


“My team went into the hangar every day and killed it. We completed the inspection in a week, and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of my folks,” said Paserba.


Paserba said it would take the experienced Northrop Grumman personnel between five and seven days to complete and scan and it was a great feat to match that benchmark on their first try.


Having Airmen who can complete these inspections allows the Air Force to ensure mission capabilities across the world. Paserba knows how important this new capability is to the mission.


“If we couldn’t do these scans, then aircraft can’t fly, and without Global Hawks in the air, there is a lot of intelligence that wouldn’t be accessible,” said Paserba.