Aircraft recovery capability demonstrated at 128 ARW Military Display

  • Published
  • By SSgt Jenna Hildebrand
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing
Four teams of maintenance Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing stand at manifold stations around a demonstration airplane. Pneumatic lifting bags, placed underneath each of the wings, the nose and the tail of the aircraft, begin to inflate. The object of the operation is to inflate the lifting bags, which will raise the Milwaukee Area Technical College aircraft into the air.

Members of the Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery team demonstrated their capability to recover damaged aircraft at the 128th Air Refueling Wing Military Display on Sunday here. 

The 23 maintenance Airmen of the CDDAR team were specifically trained for this real-world recocery operation as a special duty.

"It's important for the public to see this at the display because no one knows what we can do," said Senior Master Sgt. David Roth, the CDDAR team chief.  "This weekend's military display is a great opportunity to use as training."

The 128th ARW's CDDAR team recently obtained the funding and the training to perform recovery efforts in the event of an aircraft crash or landing mishap, said 1st Lt. Lee Russell, the CDDAR recovery operations chief. Their objective is to save as much of the assets as possible.

The CDDAR team is capable of lifting several types of military and civilian aircraft. Portable ramps may be placed under the wheels in order to create traction allowing the aircraft to be pulled away. The team is trained efficiently so that they may assist with not only 128th ARW emergencies, but also emergencies that arise at Mitchell International Airport in Milwuakee. They will also respond to emergencies with transient aircraft at Volkfield Air National Guard Base.

Roth said that the CDDAR team is an invaluable asset to the unit and the community. "We don't have to call O'Hare Airport if there's an emergency. We'll be able to respond ourselves and can have an aircraft recovered within hours."

"Being capable of recovering aircraft makes Airmen more versatile and more apt overseas," said Staff Sgt. Adam O'Lena, a member of the team for four years.

The recovery training conducted during the Military Display will help the team become more prepared for emergencies that could happen while deployed. "This training will help make operations go more smoothly," said O'Lena.

 "Whatever we can do to showcase our talents and help the community is a big deal. Things like this let us stay in business and make us valuable to Milwaukee," said Russell.