JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
One of the 437th Airlift Wing’s priorities is to sustain mission excellence, and this is a goal all maintainers strive to achieve daily.
According to Master Sgt. Josh Harrington, flight chief assigned to the 437th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment, ground equipment plays a critical role in day-to-day operations to achieve mission excellence.
“Aerospace ground equipment is equipment we use on aircraft in the back shops to do maintenance and inspections,” said Harrington. “We support a variety of different individuals with ground equipment that supports a variety of assets, mainly aircraft. We can move assets and equipment basically anywhere on base.”
Harrington said they support many assets such as the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, home station checks, metals tech, precision measurement equipment laboratories, security forces, civil engineering and more.
The 437th AW mission is always moving, and having a job that assists with a mission of this size allows Airmen to walk away with memorable experiences with the work they do and the mission they help support.
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Sills, section chief assigned to the 437th MXS, credits being deployed as some of his best memories to date.
“One of my best memories is from when I was deployed,” said Sills. “We don't have them here but in fighter worlds and bomber worlds there was something called a bomb lift, which lifts the bomb into the aircraft. There was one time, in the middle of loading the aircraft, the bomb lift had just stopped working. So, I got a call to the shop and I was able to locate and fix the problem and get it up and running, and they were able to meet the deadline without delay.”
The 437th MXS supports the air base, other locations at JB Charleston, as well as other military bases.
“We work with a variety of units here on the base, and we also support other military bases,” said Harrington. “We support North Field, other bases big and small, even Marine and Army bases down in Florida and Georgia. We support missions in South America and Europe. So, we always have equipment being deployed or sent out to support anywhere.
Sills said the things that he learns working in the shop at his home base definitely help out in a deployed environment.
“Whenever we deploy, we usually deploy with our own equipment, so we still have the same inspection and the same practices we do here,” he said. “Some other times we'll deploy to Al Udeid and there's equipment already there in place. But we do the exact same inspections and maintenance here. So everything we learned here is [in] direct correlation with deployment activity.”
When it comes to AGE, there are jobs to be done at different times of the day.
“We have three shifts,” said Harrington. We have day shift, swing shift and mid shift. We are a 24/7 section because aircraft fly 24/7. So we have to be there to support back shops and the flight line. But a normal day like day shift. We come in first thing in the morning at 6:30 a.m. We have drivers that basically drive equipment around the flight line to different aircraft dispatched to back shops. They do that from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then we have a swing shift and a mid-shift and support the flight line.”
Harrison said there are a variety of different jobs that need to be done in order to operate smoothly.
“A majority of our individuals are out on the floor doing maintenance and inspections,” he said. “So, we have about 435 pieces of equipment that we have to do inspections on about every six months. So, usually on a weekly basis we have around 20 inspections. Monthly we have between 60 and 80 inspections due. We usually have an inspection team and a maintenance team. So, we have individuals doing inspections to keep the equipment up and running, reliable and serviceable. As equipment breaks, we have a maintenance team that comes in, they see what broken equipment came in on the off shifts from the flight line or back shops, and that's what they do all day, doing inspections and doing maintenance, fixing things that are broken and just maintaining equipment and rolling it back out.”
With a section that runs 24/7 and a variety of units to support, priorities to sustain mission excellence and drive help create a more lethal and ready force, which are important goals to strive and maintain.
”Without ground power there is no air power,” said Harrington.