Originally Posted by kevbo
Those mechanics end up working at AA and Delta. The government should send the planes to El Salvador. They have far more experience and work for less than military personell. Think of all the tax dollars that would be saved with the added benefit of airframes staying intact.
Military equipment is maintained at roughly three levels...
Organizational (squadron): Routine maintenance, possibly including engine swaps. This is done by active duty folks, and as you pointed out they have less experience than their civilian equivalents.
Intermediate: More in-depth capability, active duty augmented with civilians.
Depot: Heavy repairs, periodic heavy airframe checks, SLEPs. This work is done by experienced contractors and/or civil servants with few or no active duty.
The catch: The organizational maintainers have to be forward deployable (such as 9 months at sea on a warship), and even able to pick up a weapon and shoot bad guys if it comes to that. For this reason they have to be active duty and willing to tolerate the lifestyle which precludes many older experienced folks.
So the military isn't as dumb as you think...they use experienced civilian maintainers where they can, and less experienced but combat-capable active duty where they must.