309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group

309th AMARG

309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group

Our Mission: 

Deliver Excellent, Safe, and Compliant Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO); Logistics, Storage, and Support Services to our Customers


Agility, Innovation, Growth



The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) is an agile and innovative, high-tech industrial group.  A geographically separated unit of the Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB, Utah, AMARG is also an important element of the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma under the overall auspices of the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC).

AMARG is located on Davis-Monthan AFB, on the southeast side of Tucson, Arizona.  The command occupies 2,600 acres and stores on average 3,200 aircraft, 6,100 aircraft engines, and nearly 300,000 line items of aircraft production special tooling/special test equipment.

In 1964 the Secretary of Defense designated AMARG as the single storage facility for all Department of Defense aircraft.  Subsequently, U.S. Government agencies and foreign allies have partnered with AMARG to store small numbers of aircraft and other assets, even including (at one point) two optical telescope mirrors stored in support of the University of Arizona’s mirror lab.

In 1946, AMARG became a separate entity from Davis-Monthan AFB (when the latter became a Strategic Air Command base).  Then known as the 4105th Army Air Force Base Unit, by virtue of that predecessor, AMARG pre-dates the Air Force by more than one year.

The location was selected both because of its dry climate which helps to preclude corrosion, and because of the very hard “caliche” sub-soil which was then, and remains capable of supporting the weight of the largest aircraft (without the need to cover the desert with concrete or tarmac).

At its opening, the facility stored Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” bombers (then the premier bomber in the U.S. inventory) along with Douglas C-47 “Skytrain” cargo/transport aircraft.  Many of the B-29s were “cocooned” so that those aircraft could return to service, should the need arise.  

Most of AMARG’s five current mission elements, aircraft preservation and storage, aircraft parts reclamation, aircraft disposal, and aircraft regeneration began when, or shortly after the command opened.  More recently, AMARG has added limited depot-level maintenance to the portfolio, serving as an adjunct to the larger Air Logistics Complexes.  

As examples of those mission elements, over the years aircraft not intended to return to flying service have served as parts resources for those aircraft still in the operational fleet.

The aircraft regeneration mission began in 1948, when the former Soviet Union closed road, rail, and canal access to the city of Berlin in Germany.  The western allies determined to keep the city supplied with food, fuel, and medical supplies by air.  With the urgent need for cargo aircraft, AMARG’s predecessor command regenerated approximately one fourth of the stored C-47s in support of what became known as the Berlin Airlift.

When North Korea invaded the south in 1950, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) had 440 B-29s in operational service with an immediate need for more.  The Air Force directed AMARG’s predecessor to withdraw cocooned B-29s and return them to operation.  Three years later when the war ended, SAC had 880 B-29s (although Boeing had stopped building the B-29 in 1947 - three years before the war began).  In short, AMARG basically doubled the SAC fleet.

Since then, the regeneration mission has never stopped.  AMARG has withdrawn aircraft from storage and returned them to flying service in support every major conflict since that time.  Additionally, AMARG has withdrawn and regenerated, or prepared for regeneration, aircraft for U.S. Government customers, as well as aircraft in support of allied governments through the Foreign Military Sales program.  In a very recent example, AMARG received instructions from the Army, followed by a Presidential directive, to withdraw 13 stored MI-17 helicopters and prepare them for shipment to Ukraine.  The entire AMARG team participated in that short notice, quick turn-around, mission, withdrawing the helicopters and staging them for shipment in about three days.

Although AMARG’s five mission elements have historic roots, all of them remain relevant today.  On average, AMARG artisans regenerate (or prepare for regeneration) approximately 100 aircraft per year.

During the past five years, AMARG technicians have reclaimed an average of 5,000 to 6,000 aircraft parts annually, the components either returning directly to the operational fleet, or into the supply system for subsequent re-issue.  In many cases, AMARG is the only source of spares for older aircraft.

Interestingly, AMARG does not have a vast warehouse of parts (like those seen in “adventure” movies).  Each of the stored aircraft that have been designated as parts resources, serves as an “airplane-shaped” parts warehouse.  AMARG’s reclamation technicians go designated aircraft, and following exacting work orders and technical manuals, reclaim the needed parts in support of the customer’s needs.

As another item of interest, AMARG does not actually “own” any of assets stored at the command.  “Ownership” remains with the delivering DoD services, U.S. Government agencies (such as the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Patrol, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum), as well as foreign allied governments.  AMARG acts at the direction of the owning entities, whether preserving & storing assets, reclaiming aircraft parts, preparing assets for disposal, regenerating aircraft to flying service, or accomplishing limited depot-level maintenance on the customer’s behalf.

AMARG’s most recent mission element, limited depot-level maintenance, represents the kinds of jobs that might have been performed at an Air Logistics Complex, or by a defense contractor.  Although AMARG is NOT an Air Logistics Complex (ALC), the command has many of capabilities of an ALC, albeit on a much smaller scale.  As a result, AMARG is ideally suited to accomplish short-term projects, that might otherwise tax the smooth workflow of the larger jobs performed by the three ALCs (Ogden, UT, Oklahoma City, OK, and Robins, GA), as well as serving as an adjunct when depot maintenance requirements exceed the capacity of the ALCs.  Additionally, AMARG has partnered with defense contractors to accomplish depot-level maintenance in conjunction with them, such as the “re-skinning” of hail-damaged T-1A trainers several years ago, and the installation of Drone Peculiar Equipment packages (in full-scale aerial target F-16s) more recently.

In short, AMARG is an agile, innovative, high-tech industrial facility that proudly delivers excellent, safe, and compliant maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), logistics, storage and support services to our customers.  AMARG’s highly skilled artisans and technicians preserve and store aircraft, aircraft engines, and aircraft production special tooling/special test equipment, reclaim parts from stored aircraft (or withdraw and prepare for shipment stored tooling), prepare fully-utilized assets for disposal when directed by the asset owner, regenerate aircraft to flying service and accomplish limited depot-level maintenance, making AMARG worthy of the title:  America’s National-Level Airpower Reservoir.

Group Mission Video

Maintenance Shelter

AMARG’s Maintenance Shelter is a key element of the Group’s industrial area.  The shelter is 900-feet (three football fields) in length and is configurable to support aircraft ranging from small helicopters to B-52s.  The Shelter was completed in late 1961.  In the background (north of the Shelter) are several of AMARG’s aircraft storage and aircraft engine storage areas.  In the foreground, fighters line AMARG’s aircraft receiving ramp, prior to moving to the engine and fuel-system preservation area (Flush Farm) partially visible at the lower right.  (U.S. Air Force photo by  SrA William Turnbull)

AMARG’s eastern side.  The aircraft stored here are predominantly used as reclamation assets, that is parts donors.  AMARG reclaims between 5,000 and 6,000 aircraft parts, valued at between $250M and $300M, annually.  AMARG is often the only source of spare parts for older aircraft.  The arch-shaped shelters in the foreground are mounted on tracks, allowing them to be moved to provide sun-shades for AMARG technicians reclaiming parts, and artisans applying spray-seal.  Temperatures under the shelters average between ten and 15 degrees cooler than those in direct sunlight.  (U.S. Air Force photo by  SrA William Turnbull)

AMARG’s far eastern side houses not-only reclamation aircraft, but aircraft production special tooling and special test equipment (aka:  ST/STE), both in the “tensioned fabric shelters” (arch-shaped structures) and in the boxes seen in the foreground.  ST/STE consists of the jigs, forms, dies, detail pieces, and assembly fixtures used to make the parts that are then assembled into an aircraft.  ST/STE is useful to the military services in that it permits defense contractors to re-manufacture components that may no-longer be available through the supply system, or from stored aircraft.  Although AMARG is often the only source for spare parts for older aircraft, it is not an infinite source, and the ST/STE helps alleviate such needs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by SrA William Turnbull)


Youth Impact Group

Youth Impact Program:  Eighty Tucson-area middle school students attending the Youth Impact Program (YIP) visited AMARG on 15 June.  YIP is an innovative leadership development program staffed by NCAA student athletes, university officials, U.S. military personnel and public-school teachers that act as catalysts to promote positive development in low-income, urban-based, at-risk middle school students ages 10 to 14.  The YIP curriculum is STEM-based (science, technology, engineering & math) designed by college professors and using football terminology to make math, reading and life   skills learning more applicable to the participants.  
Because one element of YIP is athletics and physical fitness,  students began their AMARG adventure with a fun-run down  AMARG’s Display Row lead by 1st Lieutenant Courtney Coffey.  After a quick photo op, the students reboarded their buses  finishing their display row orientation with STEM-based    information about stored aircraft, including how NASA’s micro-  gravity trainer simulates a weightless environment, how  Bernoulli’s Principle plays a role in the lift produced by aircraft  wings, how the Coanda Effect was applied to give the YC-14  prototype cargo aircraft short take-off and landing capability, and  how “laser” is an acronym, and its application to the NKC-135  “Big Crow” aircraft to name a few.  Next stop, AMARG’s  maintenance shelter where YIP students learned about  preservation and storage (through a spray-seal demonstration) and learned about the depot maintenance projects on F-16 and A-10 aircraft AMARG performs as an adjunct to the Air Force Sustainment Center’s (AFSC) three Air Logistics Complexes.
Davis-Monthan AFB is the only Air Force organization currently participating in the Youth Impact Program, and AMARG, America's National-Level Airpower Reservoir, is the only Air Force Materiel Command, AFSC, and Ogden Air Logistics Complex command selected to participate.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Rob Raine)