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Remodeling the model

Staff Sgts. Murray Burgen, left, and Shaun Strain, both with the 108th Maintenance Group, pose in front of a KC-135E Stratotanker model in front of hangar 33-33. The aircraft structural maintenance craftmen worked on updating and remodeling the fiber-glassed display. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez/Released)

Staff Sgts. Murray Burgen, left, and Shaun Strain, both with the 108th Maintenance Group, pose in front of a KC-135E Stratotanker model in front of hangar 33-33. The aircraft structural maintenance craftmen worked on updating and remodeling the fiber-glassed display. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez/Released)

KC-135R Stratotanker model in front of the 108th Wing's headquarter building. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez/Released)

KC-135R Stratotanker model in front of the 108th Wing's headquarter building. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Armando Vasquez/Released)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- With a new commander coming to the 108th Wing, Staff Sgts. Murray Burgen and Shaun Strain were tasked with remodeling the KC-135 model airplanes that adorn the entrances to the Wing's headquarters building and the maintenance hangar.

Those models were put there more than 20-years ago when the Wing moved from flying fighter aircrafts to KC-135E Stratotankers. In addition, the Wing was now flying the KC135R models.

Burgen and Strain are both aircraft structural maintenance personnel with the 108th Maintenance Group. In their job, they maintain and repair metal and non-metal aircraft parts and components, as well as design, fabricate and modify unique metals, plastics, fiberglass ensuring it meets requirements for preserving the structural integrity of the aircraft.

"This is the one shop that no matter what happens, we will always be involved in the repair of a plane," said Burgen. "We design and fabricate anything on that plane, from tip to tail."

It made sense to have Burgen and Strain update the models. They had the expertise and equipment to do it. Burgen has graphic design experience, which comes in handy during the process of adding the decals and markings on the airplane.

"It should take a couple of months to complete this," said Strain. With a new commander scheduled to assume command of the Wing in October, the couple of months cushion turned into a two-week project.

Burgen and Strain said there was a lot of trial and error and they went through several pieces of material when remodeling the KC-135E model in front of the hangar. The remodeling of the KC-135 model in front of the Wing's headquarters building took a little more time and effort, as they had to update the old look of the E model into the R model.

Working with metal and parts for the actual 20,000 ton aircraft is much easier than a miniature model of that same plane said Burgen. But in the end, both Burgen and Strain put their skills to work and now their product greets visitors to our Wing.