Quality Assurance trains for accuracy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Hada
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Before Airmen are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining a B-1 at Ellsworth, they undergo a great deal of training to familiarize themselves with the intricate workings of the bomber.

Ellsworth's most experienced maintainers, the Airmen assigned to the 28th Maintenance Squadron quality assurance section, conduct much of this training.

These maintainers are responsible for the training and evaluation of nearly 1,400 Ellsworth Airmen.

Tech. Sgt. Taft Tubbs, 28th MXS QA inspector, defined his primary duty as training less experienced Airmen to accurately maintain Ellsworth's B-1 bomber fleet.

"We're not here to just write people up for making a mistake," Tubbs said. "We're here to train them. If we see someone struggling, we will provide them with assistance and explain the proper procedure for the work order they are fulfilling."

Staff Sgt. Leonard Johnson, 28th MXS QA inspector, described the course of his duties as ensuring all work on the flightline is completed by the book, word-for-word, step-by-step and without cutting corners.

"Every morning, we review all of the maintenance that has been performed over the past couple of days, putting extra emphasis on safety and precision to complete work in accordance with technical orders," Johnson said.

Johnson emphasized the importance of performing all aircraft maintenance with 100 percent accuracy, noting it as the only way to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring.

"These are multi-million dollar aircraft," said Johnson adding that more than that, lives hang in the balance as well. "That's why we double check everything. The training we give these young Airmen helps them improve their attention to detail. Considering what's on the line, they always need to be on their game."

Tubbs said that one of the biggest challenges the QA section faces is interpretation.

"Technical orders can easily be interpreted in a number of different ways," Tubbs explained. "We have 15 different subject matter experts on our team and they're all from different maintenance career fields. We found that the best way to combat this is by hashing out the details with each other and defining the gray areas."

In addition to training and inspecting maintainers, Tubbs said, QA section also evaluates the quality of maintenance and necessary functions performed to manage the wing and group's Maintenance Standardization Evaluation Program.

"We brief our leadership about our findings so our base can eventually address any issues that may arise," Tubbs said.

Johnson added that he appreciates being given the opportunity to impact the lives of so many at Ellsworth.

"Our job is very rewarding," said Johnson. "Being an inspector has given me a chance to gain insight on all the different maintenance specialties on base. I know that everything I've learned has only helped me become a better maintainer and asset to the mission."