13WMAZ is kicking off a new series called 'Behind the Lines.' It will air monthly, and feature the many people who make Robins run and the jobs they do.
First, we take a look at the Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight. They are the men and women who get aircraft flying in battle and under fire.
During a week of drills at Robins Air Force Base's Warrior Air Base, the group tested their skills.
In the one we witnessed, they simulated a scenario where enemy fire crippled a plane in the desert.
Missile fire tore through the left wing of the aircraft.
As technicians and engineers rushed to get the plane patched, they operated under the conditions of a war zone.
A simulated chemical attack, with green smoke, sirens and full chemical gear, brought their work to a stop.
Then, insurgents drove up in truck, firing on the team.
Their fire injured a crew member.
While one airman tended to the injured teammate, the others fired back at the attackers.
After several minutes, the team stopped the insurgents and took them into custody.
The simulation tested the airmen's limits ahead of the reality's of battle.
Tech Sergeant TJ Barb said, "How are they going to adapt and overcome? Because in the face of adversity, we need to triumph over that."
TSgt. Barb leads these men and women at home and around the globe.
He said, "We don't get ready. We stay ready."
Crew member TSgt. Mike Reid says they average 200 days on the road each year. He said, "Be ready to go, go, go to all the time."
Barb said the travel takes a lot of sacrifice from their children, spouses, and loved ones.
When aircraft go down, they take off.
When they arrive at their destination, their "war wagons" are waiting. They are equipped with all the tools and equipment the airmen need to do the jobs.
The battle repair unit is sometimes called the "patch doctors" or the "MacGyvers of the flight line".
It's an elite crew with military and maintenance training.
Barb said, "There's no other unit in the Air Force that has the capability."
They are an airplane pit crew, optimized under attack.
Reid said, "In one location in Afghanistan, they were storming the gates."
Bolt by bolt, they return weapons and airmen to the skies.
Barb said, "It's a great feeling to know we might have made a difference somewhere else and allowed someone else to come home."
They wage war with wrenches instead of weapons, and drills instead of drones.
Barb said, "We do everything we do for you, so that each of you can come home and sleep easy."
They're mechanics with the heart of warriors.
The Air Force originally created units like the Expeditionary Depot Maintenance Flight during Vietnam. Prior to that, they sent in civilian maintenance teams to war zones, but the work became too dangerous.