News: Bagram maintenance squadron set for snow removal, de-icing operations
Story by Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - As winter approaches, major snow removal and de-icing aircraft efforts will soon be underway bringing a new challenge to flightline operations.
In addition to launching and recovering air tasking order missions, performing aircraft inspections, repairing broken systems, and conducting periodic scheduled maintenance, airmen must battle snow, ice and sub-freezing temperatures, said Lt. Col. Greg Lowe, 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander.
Maintenance technicians are responsible for brushing snow off of aircraft, shoveling it out of 72 parking spots, and ensuring the route from the munitions storage area to the flightline is clear for resupply of ammunition.
Master Sgt. Paul Titus, 455 EAMXS production superintendent, a native of Denver, Colo., who’s deployed from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and Senior Master Sgt. Michael Valenty, 455 EAMXS lead production superintendent, a resident of Boston deployed from Langley Air Force base, Va., developed a winter operations training plan, detailing specific plans for removing snow and de-icing each of the different aircraft types assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.
“Winter snow and ice removal is critical to our operations. If snow is not removed from the flightline, aircraft will not be able to take off in time to meet mission requirements. In the area of responsibility, if you're late taking off you could be late getting to those who need air support and need it fast,” said Titus a 21-year Air Force veteran. “Same thing applies to ensuring the aircraft do not have any snow and ice buildup on the flight surfaces. Using de-icing methods on aircraft ensure the flight controls operate as required.”
Titus led maintenance group preparations for winter operations during the last six months. He worked with Air Force civil engineers, Army Corps of Engineers and Fluor to refurbish two glycol pumping stations that service the large de-icing trucks.
Titus said he procured more than enough Glycol, a commercial, non-toxic de-icing fluid used to prevent the buildup of ice prior to flight, for even the most severe winter and created a plan to make sure the valuable asset was protected from a catastrophic enemy attack.
The standard tools for clearing snow used at the aircraft and around the facilities are shovels, ice chippers, brooms and salt to clear more than 28,000 square feet of parking ramp. To augment the snow removal the team has added snow plows to some of their vehicles to remove larger amounts of snow at the aircraft parking spots and parking lots around the installation.
He also procured pickup truck-mounted plows and enlisted the help of 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainers to have them installed.
“Vehicle maintenance has reached out to us to schedule maintenance runs on the de-icing vehicles to ensure we have top-notch equipment to work with,” Titus said. “For the aircraft de-icing we have a fleet of seven trucks that carry de-icing fluid to remove any ice that may be on the aircraft. When weather dictates the need for the trucks they will make continuous trips to refill at one of our two de-icing stations.”
Since May, the squadron has been working on repairs and upgrades to their de-icing storage facilities.
“We have had to replace four of the six 5-thousand gallon tanks due to ruptures in the tanks,” Titus said.
Titus has also been training the flightline technicians on how to use the equipment and said it was a team effort that has allowed them to complete repairs and become nearly 100 percent capable well ahead of schedule.
“We have standardized procedures for servicing and maintaining to ensure we are always ready. Overall, it’s a great team effort from many agencies, but of course maintenance leads the way in winter operations,” Titus said.
Without the commitment to excellence displayed by Titus over the past six months, the 455 AEW would not be postured to execute its most important mission, meeting the air tasking order, during the winter months, said Lowe deployed here from Moody AFB, Ga., and a native of Valdosta, Ga.
“His personal dedication and teamwork with other Team Bagram agencies will be evident long after he has re-deployed. He will have left behind a truly enduring program that ensures the professional maintainers of the 455 EAMXS are able to support the fight, all year round,” Lowe said.
Date Posted:11.02.2013 04:40
Location:BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF
Hometown:BOSTON, MA, US
Hometown:DENVER, CO, US
Hometown:LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VA, US
Hometown:MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA, US
Hometown:MOSCOW, TN, US
Hometown:VALDOSTA, GA, US