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'Life is our business' AFE gives aircrew peace of mind
Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Taylor, an Aircrew Flight Equipment technician assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron here, cleans equipment at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Dec. 17, 2013. Taylor calls Charlotte, N.C., home and is deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Means/Released)
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'Life is our business' AFE gives aircrew peace of mind

Posted 12/23/2013   Updated 12/23/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Michael Means
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/23/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- With all of the demands placed upon aircrews to make sure their mission is accomplished, they need to know that life-support equipment is ready in case of an emergency.

The professionals at the 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment shop give aircrews the assurance their equipment is working properly for any operation.

"We have a great group of professionals, motivated about our mission and invested in the Air Force," said Air Force Capt. Alicia Cramer, 380 EOSS operations flight commander, who calls Fort Collins, Colo., home and is deployed here from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. "They have an immense amount of responsibility and achieve their duties with unwavering fortitude, so that aircrew can rest assured their lives are in capable hands."

The AFE shop is responsible for inspecting, maintaining and adjusting equipment such as oxygen masks, flotation devices, survival vests, aircrew eye and respiratory protective equipment, chemical biological protective masks and coveralls, and other types of aircrew chemical defense systems and more.

Pilots rely on this equipment to survive in the event of an emergency.

"We provide the flight crews and passengers with safety and emergency equipment that enables them to perform their mission during emergency situations such as loss of cabin pressure or other extreme circumstances so they return safely to their families, said Air Force Staff Sgt. Tralves Sowell, 380 EOSS KC-10 AFE NCO in charge, who calls Pageland, S.C., home and is deployed here from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.

The AFE technicians are not limited to supporting and working on equipment associated with just one airframe.

"Our career field is diverse and ever-changing," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Angel Paita, 380 EOSS Airborne Warning and Control System AFE NCO in charge, who calls Houston, Texas, home and is deployed from Tinker AFB, Okla.

The AFE section here is unique in that it supports two completely different airframes with different missions.

"Most AFE shops only support one type of airframe," said Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony Rebeck, 380 EOSS AFE superintendent, who calls Gary, Ind., home. "We have personnel from the KC-10 and AWACS bases coming together in one office working as a team and supporting each other for the common AFE mission."

The AFE technicians are similar to "jack of all trades" in that they have a very wide skillset, said Paita.

"We can do everything from constructing and repairing aircraft insulation and seat covers to providing parachute rigging, repair and packing," said Paita.

"Our mission as AFE technicians is to provide our aircrews safe and effective aircrew flight equipment and programs to increase their performance," said Receck.

AFE provides critical oversight and inspection of vital life-saving equipment. The team must be efficient in maintaining all the equipment for aircrews.

"Without the equipment we provide, aircrews would not be able to perform their duty to the extent necessary to fulfill mission objectives," said Receck. "It is our job to prepare and provide them the equipment they need to survive."

Their motto is "Your life is our business." Knowledgeable and trustworthy technicians are the keys to success in accomplishing the mission, said Cramer

"As an aircrew flight equipment technician I take pride in what I do," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Taylor, 380 EOSS, who calls Charlotte, N.C., home and is deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. "The fact that we are behind the scenes and play such a vital role to the mission, our aircrew and passengers lives."

"We have a rock solid team serving a diverse global mission, enhancing aircrew performance, supporting life sustainability and maintaining quality survival and decontamination equipment," said Taylor.

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