TEL AVIV, Israel --
A recent, historic transfer of operational F-15 aircraft from the 173rd Fighter Wing to Israel has facilitated an ongoing relationship as American Airmen assist the Israelis on care and maintenance of the Eagle.
“The F-15 Technical Coordination Program Office out of Robbins Air Force Base asked for Kingsley to assist [the Israelis],” said Master Sgt. Brian Monson, the armament shop lead at the 173rd FW. “They said they were impressed with Kingsley from the delivery of the nine jets back in September, so they asked for our help again.”
Two weapons Airmen made the journey to the small, allied country in the Middle East to share techniques for keeping the 20mm gun system in perfect working order.
“It’s a lot about timing and proper lubrication; timing all of the different units to work together; the handoff of the round has to be perfect between the units, there are a lot of gears in the unit and they have to be aligned just right,” Monson said. With that in mind Master Sgt. Greg Carte accompanied him on the trip. “He’s the most proficient gun technician in the shop,” added Monson.
“Greg’s experience really shone through as he demonstrated our maintenance procedures for them,” said Monson. “His hands-on training really helped us get past the language barrier.”
That language barrier showed itself in several ways; Monson noted that their Technical Orders are translated from English into Hebrew and it’s not always a perfect translation. Additionally, Hebrew reads right to left, which is opposite the English language; despite the differences he said they have much in common.
“Their maintenance culture is very similar to ours,” said Monson. “It’s their life, they are really about taking care of each other, maybe even more so than us. I was very impressed.”
The schedule was tight with the exception of one day off to adjust to the local time zone. After that, it was a long five days and after a full-day’s work on the last day, Monson and Carte boarded a plane at 1 a.m. They arrived back in Klamath Falls Friday evening after being in transit for more than 30 hours.
“That was one of the most satisfying training experiences I’ve ever had. They were really glad we came, and we worked really hard to share everything with them in five days,” said Monson.