by SrA Maeson Elleman

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kenroy Steele, 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance technician who hails from West Minster, Md., uses a grinding wheel to cut a sheet of titanium on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 21, 2013. Whether it's replacing a $3 bolt or repairing a $1.5 million KC-135 Stratotanker aileron, the Aircraft Structural Maintenance flight gives the Air Force an unmatched reach and presence in the Asia Pacific Region and is vital to the successful mission of the 18th Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman/Released)

Photographer's Narrative


Every component is vital when it comes to getting a plane in the air safely. Aircraft structural craftsmen focus most of their attention on the metal -- steel, aluminum, or titanium -- that each aircraft is made of. When I entered the shop, they needed to cut some of that metal, so I took a few pictures. I wanted to make sure I showed the sparks shooting off the titanium as the Airman cut into it.