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Ensuring F-15 readiness with the practice of cannibalization

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adriana Scott
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

In the heart of Kingsley Field’s Maintenance Group a crucial role is being played by a single individual, Staff Sgt. Boua Her of the 550th Fighter Squadron, whose efforts ensure the continued readiness of the F-15 Eagle fleet.  Recently appointed as the 173rd Maintenance Group “CANN” Manager, Her has quickly shown his capabilities of filling a position typically held by someone of a much higher rank.  

“In the three months Her has been working as a cannibalization manager, we have processed more than 20 CANN actions to facilitate 747 flying hours and saved the Air Force approximately $614,000 in high demand low density assets," said Senior Master Sgt. Casey Rietdyk, 173rd Maintenance Squadron production superintendent.  “That’s huge!”

Cannibalization - a term that might sound dramatic but is a vital practice in aircraft maintenance - describes the process of salvaging parts from one aircraft that already has a problem to revive a different aircraft.  Instead of two broken aircraft with two different problems, the unit now only has one aircraft awaiting parts for two issues.  This method not only saves time, but also saves the Air Force a considerable amount of money. 

“If I take one of my parts and give it to them, then they will be able to fly the next day or so, depending on how major the maintenance,” said Her. 

With airplanes that are older than the pilots who fly them and the maintainers who fix them, receiving parts from the supply system can be extremely difficult and time consuming. 

For example, in a recent “CANN” there was an F-15 that had a leak on the nose of the jet.  Luckily, Her was able to replace it using the part from the CANN jet.  However, Her says to get that part from the supply system could take up to seven months or longer.

Her’s placement into the “CANN” Manager position was not an accident, his supervisors Senior Master Sgt. Zack Stone, Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent and Rietdyk had a major part in his placement.

“We hand selected Boua for his attention to detail, dedication, knowledge base, and prior R&R experience.” said Rietdyk, highlighting the unique blend of qualities that make Her an ideal fit for the critical position.

Her is originally from Alaska and has been in the active-duty Air Force for 11 years. Prior to becoming the CANN Manager, he was a flightline crew chief at Kingsley Field. When Her first heard of the opportunity he thought the job was interesting, and was excited to jump right in.

“I like the job because knowing that I can help someone by providing them an aircraft part, and having that jet fly within the next day, is a great feeling,” said Her.