News: Maintenance Airmen forward deploy efficiently
Story by Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- When an aircraft breaks down and can't fly until repaired, Maintenance Recovery Teams are sent out to forward operating bases where parts, supplies and specialties may not be adequate enough to put the aircraft back in the air.
Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group and the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, have been responding to recover aircraft from all over the Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Leadership from the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group documented a process map and a guide to help maintenance Airmen forward deploy efficiently when they are needed at other locations throughout the AOR,. The process map highlights instructions, checklists and procedures for each stop before departing.
The process map initiative evolved due to a response to send a MRT for a KC-135 Stratotanker which was having engine problems, and the team's next available transportation departed within three hours.
"As you can imagine we had many checklists and a lot of organizations who were willing to help, but it definitely was not a coordinated effort," said Lt. Col. Jeffery Martin, the 379th EMXG deputy commander who hails from Tulsa, Okla. and is deployed from Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "Come to find out we ended up not accomplishing all of the pre-requisite requirements before forward deploying."
Following the event, in order to reduce the risk of missing requirements in the future, the checklists to forward deploy were looked at for improvements.
"We embarked on a project to capture everything that all organizations accomplish to support a MRT in order to solidify a coordinated effort for the next occurrence," Martin said. "We found that particularly because of the turnover rate, frequency of occurrence and urgency of response it was important to go much deeper than the checklist level.
Checklist are great if everything is within your control, but a process map details all simultaneous actions with milestones for all organizations from a-to-z, and a guide provides the instructions of what is required to include all of the forms and references."
According to Martin the process map and guide are easier to understand within an environment which requires quick spin up time from different organizations on base.
The base averages three to four MRT forward deployments a month and has had two teams use the new process map and guide so far.
"There was clear evidence of a coordinated effort from the various organizations, all pre-requisite requirements were completed and the aircraft was successfully recovered," Martin said.
The success of the process map and guide are due to the efforts of the hard working Airmen who make every mission a top priority, Martin said.
"Without the professional, dedicated and responsive logistics planners, the Host Nation Coordination Cell customs representative, AFCENT Air Mobility Division securing transportation, public health professionals, Air Terminal Operations Center Airmen and the aircraft mechanics, we would not be able to successfully recover an aircraft throughout the AOR," Martin said.