509th Maintenance Squadron propulsion flight Airmen boost readiness to 18-year high

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Staff Sgt. Thomas Laroue, an aerospace propulsion craftsman assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Laroue and other members of his flight run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Staff Sgt. Thomas Laroue, an aerospace propulsion craftsman assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, poses for a portrait on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Laroue and other members of his flight run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Members of the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight pose for a group photo on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The jet propulsion flight works daily to run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines, which power the Whiteman AFB fleet of B-2 Spirits. Thanks to their efforts, Whiteman AFB has the highest engine readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Members of the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight pose for a group photo on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The jet propulsion flight works daily to run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines, which power the Whiteman AFB fleet of B-2 Spirits. Thanks to their efforts, Whiteman AFB has the highest engine readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

A F-118 engine awaits diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, The F-118 is the life source of the B-2 Spirit, the U.S. Air Force's premier stealth bomber. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

A F-118 engine awaits diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, The F-118 is the life source of the B-2 Spirit, the U.S. Air Force's premier stealth bomber. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Staff Sgts Jason White and Thomas Laroue, and Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, all aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, monitor computers on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. White, Laroue and Jacob run diagnostic tests and perform maintenance on the F-118 B-2 Spirit engine and contributed to Whiteman AFB achieving the highest engine readiness level across the entire active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Staff Sgts Jason White and Thomas Laroue, and Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, all aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, monitor computers on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. White, Laroue and Jacob run diagnostic tests and perform maintenance on the F-118 B-2 Spirit engine and contributed to Whiteman AFB achieving the highest engine readiness level across the entire active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob waits for a signal from Staff Sgt. Thomas Laroue on July 9, 2019, in the F-118 engine test center on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Both Jacob and Laroue are aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight. The jet propulsion flight helped Whiteman AFB achieve an 8-year readiness high with 375% of the engines necessary to accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob waits for a signal from Staff Sgt. Thomas Laroue on July 9, 2019, in the F-118 engine test center on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Both Jacob and Laroue are aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight. The jet propulsion flight helped Whiteman AFB achieve an 8-year readiness high with 375% of the engines necessary to accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, checks fluid levels on a F-118 engine before diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, checks fluid levels on a F-118 engine before diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, inspects a F-118 engine before diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Jacob, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned the 509th Maintenance Squadron, inspects a F-118 engine before diagnostic testing on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Jacob and other members of the jet propulsion flight work daily to ensure the fleet of B-2 Spirits at Whiteman AFB have the engines needed to accomplish the mission, with plenty to spare, giving Whiteman the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Mariana Salazar, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, trains to perform maintenance on an F-118 engine on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Salazar and other members of her flight run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. The jet propulsion flight achieved the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Airman 1st Class Mariana Salazar, an aerospace propulsion Airman assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, trains to perform maintenance on an F-118 engine on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Salazar and other members of her flight run diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. The jet propulsion flight achieved the highest readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

Aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, train together to perform maintenance on an F-118 engine on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The flight runs diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)
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Aerospace propulsion Airmen assigned to the 509th Maintenance Squadron jet propulsion flight, train together to perform maintenance on an F-118 engine on July 9, 2019, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The flight runs diagnostic tests and perform regular maintenance on F-118 engines on a daily basis to ensure the readiness of the B-2 Spirit fleet at Whiteman AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

The 509th Maintenance Squadron Propulsion Flight has achieved the highest engine readiness rate across the active-duty Air Force.

40 jet engine mechanics operate out of a repair center on base, ensuring the readiness of Whiteman Air Force Base’s 44 billion dollar fleet of B-2 Spirits.

Active-duty and National Guard Airmen collaborate with civilian employees on a daily basis to achieve a 375 percent war ready engine level (WRE).The WRE level is the net number of serviceable engines available to support the Air Force’s war tasking at a given time.

Col. Mark Riselli, the 509th Maintenance Group commander, highlighted the milestone as a reflection that collaboration, an initiative known across the AF as total force integration (TFI).

“Our TFI B-2 jet propulsion team is peak performing,” he said. “Their ability to deliver spare engines is critical to ensuring we meet our annual flying hour commitments and, more importantly, the team is delivering safe and reliable aircraft to our aircrew members every time we fly.”

Riselli also credited the strong partnerships with General Electric, Northrup-Grumman, Head Quarters Air Force Global Strike Command and AF Material Command, specifically Tinker Air Force Base. These partners ensure that Team Whiteman has the technical support, equipment and parts they need to succeed.

The propulsion flight is unique in that it performs intensive maintenance and tests on the B-2 engines and the aircraft’s tailpipes while they are separated from the aircraft itself.

Edwin Hancock, a former AF maintainer and the current civilian AF engineering and technical services representative, has been working within the B-2 mission for 26 years. He supports the jet propulsion flight as they work to resolve complex system and maintenance problems.

 Hancock explained the significance of the tests run by the jet propulsion flight.

“The limits for these tests are much more stringent than operating engines installed on the aircraft,” he said. “The test cell operator must be highly skilled in engine operation and troubleshooting. It is his or her expertise that determines if the engine operates within specified limits.”

Master Sgt. Bobby Rodriguez, the propulsion flight chief assigned to the 509th MXG, leads the flight’s maintenance efforts, evaluates the skills of its members and ensures appropriate distribution of manpower across the Wing.

“Being able to empower my team with critical tasks and trust things will get accomplished is what made this possible,” he said. “Being able to communicate and trust each other has made this propulsion flight solid.”

Rodriguez credited his team’s ability to learn from the critical feedback they receive through evaluations and then challenge each other through intensive regular training.

“Being able to say we have the Air Force’s number one highest active-duty WRE level is special,” he said. “I’m proud to be their flight chief.”