Making supplies go a long way... 459th LRF trains at RAF Mildenhall

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrew Polvino
  • 459 ARW Public Affairs
"Fuel to the Fight. " That's the 459th Air Refueling Wing's motto. We all know the jets need gas, but what do the mechanics and logistics personnel need in order to maintain and keep a 50-year-old aircraft flying with the ability to refuel?

Keep in mind, the KC-135R was constructed during the post-Vietnam War era, and most parts are no longer in production or are pulled from planes, which cannot be repaired and are considered scrapped.

Parts and supplies would be considered the key and essential necessity for that mission to succeed; but where do mechanics get supplies and where do parts go when they break?  The Flight Service Center here is the focal point of all repairable and condemned parts on base.

"We expedite parts not repairable on station back to the depot for repair," said Senior Airman Shailie King, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron. "This ensures Air Force invested parts are returned into the supply pipeline to prevent shortages in stock and aircraft downtime," she said.

Airmen 1st Class Jennifer Ryan and Airman Basic Marcus Dorsey, 459th Logistics Readiness Flight, Joint Base Andrews, Md., trained with the 100th LRS while on TDY here. They were attentive and eager to absorb all the information provided while working with Airman King.

"Working with regular Air Force members while on annual tour helps us get training in all the different sections of supply and material management," said Airman Ryan. "While here at RAF Mildenhall, working in customer service helped us to learn the process of issuing aircraft assets to maintenance personnel when we would be deployed."

Airman King said ordering replacements, fixing broken and serviceable parts is an integral part of keeping aircraft serviceable and ready for the next mission.

"The FSC is a very crucial aspect of the supply system; we support 24-hour maintenance activity and two geographically separated units. Although our focus is repair cycle asset management, we also manage the wing supply points, Time Compliance Technical Orders (TCTOs), Product Quality Deficiency Reports (PQDRs), Found on Bases (FOBs), Awaiting Parts (AWP), and Air Force enhancement program," she said. 

The FSC is only one part of the 100th LRF's supply section. While Airmen Dorsey and Ryan were training in the FSC, Senior Airman George Bangura and Airman 1st Class Kailissha Jones, 459th LRF, were detailed to learn more about the Parts Store and palletizing process.

"It was fun building a pallet of parts," said Airman Jones. "I moved a tyre! (to a KC-135R) That thing weighed more than I do, and it was as tall as me, but it was a great learning experience as well. I learned about all the different kits, Air Force forms, pallet building, product tracking, logging and stock management."

The Parts Store essentially is what its' name implies.

"The Parts Store is where all the aircraft parts are held, all the right types of screws, wheels, bolts for our aircraft are," said Master Sergeant Warren Allen, 459th LRF. "It's where people call in asking for replacement parts when they break."

"It was a great learning experience being able to train with active duty members, it was extremely hands-on and helped me with my upgrade training," said Airman Jones.

On the subject of having reservists training with her, Airman King noted, "while the purpose of having reservists in our shop is to train them and keep them knowledgeable, it also helps instill the "back to basics" motto into those who are training them. While being eager to teach we are always eager to learn, I cannot recall a group of reservists who did not offer valuable information, whether it's supply knowledge or stories of their past experience, there is something to always be learned."