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You can't fly without supply

  • Published
  • By SrA Daira Jackson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

To help keep planes flying, the 61st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit works 24/7 to deliver assets or parts that maintainers need to fix aircraft.

Winning today’s fight means executing the air tasking order daily to meet the U.S. Central Command commander’s priorities. With aircraft flying daily, eventually parts will wear down or break, causing the aircraft to be grounded for several days.

“What is the Air Force all about?” said Senior Master Sgt. Francisco Perez Colon, superintendent of the 61st EAMU who deployed here with his team from the 19th Airlift Wing in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Fly-Fight-Win, air superiority and power. Once you understand that, no matter what your job is, no matter what your rank is, it doesn't matter. We are here to execute the ATO.”

Each aircraft part is identified by a national stock number in the supply system.

“There's not much that we can't order,” said Staff Sgt. Devin Lawson, an aircraft and materiel management specialist also from the 19th Airlift Wing. “You'll be surprised. There’s even an NSN for toilet paper. There's NSNs for pretty much anything you can think of. So, if you ever find an NSN, I can probably order it.”

Daily responsibilities of the members’ 12-hour shifts include checking email, meeting with the commander, ordering parts, receiving status updates on ordered parts and communicating with the maintainers to provide what they need.

“You can't fly without supply,” said Lawson. “It's important to make sure the maintainers have the assets they need to fix that aircraft -- to get it back up in the air to complete the mission.”

Perez Colon said it takes a combination of people and the mission to execute the ATO.

There are 118 people and 16 different Air Force Specialty Codes that support eight C-130Js on base.

Lawson feels empowered working as a member of the 61st EAMU because he can contribute to the mission.

“It becomes important further on down to realize the impact that you do make, and even though it may be small, [the impact] can be big, because there's a ripple effect [from] what you do,” said Lawson.