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Depot group adapts, delivers amidst pandemic

A maintainer studies a rivet on an F-16.

Lucas Villalobos, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, works on an F-16 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, April 28, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A painter paints the nose of an F-16.

A 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group paint crew paints an F-16 Thunderbird at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 4, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

Two painters paint an F-16.

A 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group paint crew paints an F-16 Thunderbird at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May 4, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A worker mixes paint.

Ireneo Carumba, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, mixes paint at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, May, 4, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A maintainer inside an F-16 intake.

Brayden Pledger, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, works inside an F-16 intake at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, April 28, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

A maintainer uses a drill inside a C-130.

Joseph Fountain, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, works on a C-130 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, April 28, 2021. The 309th AMXG continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter throughout the pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In the midst of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group continued to provide world-class, depot-level maintenance and return aircraft to the warfighter.

While adapting to protect the largest direct labor force in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex, the 309th AMXG delivered scheduled aircraft to Department of Defense agencies and international partners.

“FY20 was a brutal year for everybody, but we finished strong, which is incredible when you look at how many weather and safety, and sick leaves we had across the entire ALC due to the pandemic,” said Col. Aaron Rivers, 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group commander.

The group averaged between 12 and 15 percent of its workforce on weather and safety, or sick leave at the beginning of the pandemic, but with protective measures and communication channels in place, essential personnel were able to perform their mission on A-10, C-130, F-16, F-22, F-35 and T-38 aircraft.

The group adapted to workforce shortages by focusing efforts on specific assets as needed.

“I think the biggest thing with the pandemic was that we were able to put the right personal protective equipment in place,” said Sandra Fitzgerald, 309th AMXG deputy director. “We allowed our folks to come to work in a safe environment and that was one of our biggest lessons: That we could actually make it safe for everybody.”

The 309th AMXG was visited by several high-level visitors during the past year as well, including the Air Force’s acting secretary and chief of staff.

“They made deliberate efforts to come out here and thank our workforce. Our work is mission essential and it is recognized at the highest levels,” said Fitzgerald.