Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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31 Crew chief Darian Mays shook hands with aircraft mechanic Joseph Lawhorn for the first time three years ago. Now, Mays, who is on active duty with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, nods his head at reservist Lawhorn as the mechanic's grease-covered hands remove fan blades from a KC-135 Stratotanker at the base's recently-devel- oped integrated wing. Tech Sgts. Mays and Lawhorn wear the same uniform, maintain the same airplanes — and share the same goals as airmen with the 916th Air Refueling Wing. "It's hard to tell who's reserve and who is active duty unless you just know," Lawhorn said. The 25-year-old Clayton native joined the Air Force seven years ago. "We all do the same thing, and we're expect- ed to do the same things. We work togeth- er fine." Mays, 28, of Tampa, Florida, entered the Air Force nine years ago. He currently serves as a quality assurance inspector for the air- planes, and he is excited to see the arrival of the I-Wing's new state-of-the-art Boeing KC-46A Pegusus tanker aircraft in 2020. "I think it's pretty unique they chose an integrated unit like ours to help pave that way," Mays said. "I think that will be a great opportunity for both of us to learn. As far as I can see is us working perfectly together." Col. Eric Jenkins, commander of the 916th Air Refueling Wing, took on the added role as the first commander of the I-Wing six months ago to bring active-duty and reservist airmen together under one hangar. Jenkins said before his com- mand over the I-Wing — created in September — he led active- duty airmen only, but Jenkins said disciplinary or assignment problems were handled adminis- tratively by MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, not by himself. He said they also referred to the 4th Fighter Wing, but now they are under the command of Jenk- ins. "So now, not only do I have to make sure I take care of my reserved guys and gals, I have to also make sure I take care of the active duty," he said. Jenkins' 900 reservists and 280 active-duty airmen currently work on 12 KC-135 Stratotankers by using the same Air Force Instruction regulations to service airplanes and learn technical pro- cedures for training purposes, Jenkins said. Both members use iPads to test the inside functions of the airplane, and both assist in the cleaning of the airplane's exterior. But the KC-46A will replace the KC-135 in three years, the demolishing process for the 916th Air Refueling Wing's current hangar will begin in December for the rebuilding of a larger one, and Air Force jobs will open in MAKING CHANGES Col. Eric Jenkins talks about the recent and future changes to the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Mechanics take apart a KC-135 engine during an inspection on Wednesday, Jan. 18. See I-WING, Page 32 Story by BRANDON DAVIS Photos by CASEY MOZINGO New tankers, integration set tone for the next generation at Seymour Johnson AFB Looking at the future: Cooperation between Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Wayne County have been the catalyst for the construction of the new Meadow Lane Elementary School. A place to play: The city of Goldsboro and SJAFB plan to share a field for the multi-use sports complex. Make it better: Clubs on base help with the transition. MILITARY

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