Left to right: TSgt James Green, MSgt Cody Loyd, and SSgt Adam Enfinger
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen Joe Dunford have been sounding the alarm on the readiness of the Air Force Fleet to meet their obligations in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Concurrently, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen David Goldfein points to the Air Force’s withering full spectrum readiness and its ability to compete in the increasingly denied and degraded operating environment. The men and women of the 317th Airlift Wing (AW) at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, heard these challenges and took to the flight line for action! In the spring of 2018, they organized, planned, and executed a full spectrum readiness exercise that included a complex multi-ship airdrop scenario under the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRNE) attack. The safety culture within the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS), combined with the vigilance of a few maintainers during a challenging exercise in Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) level 4 gear proved that they could operate in the full spectrum of C-130J operations while still maintaining a culture of safety.
On March 1, 2018, the 317 AMXS participated in a 317 AW exercise where they launched and recovered several aircraft that had been “slimed” over the course of their exercise and forced maintenance and aircrew to operate in MOPP 4 conditions. MSgt Cody Loyd, TSgt James Green, SSgt Adam Enfinger, and A1C Cameron Barlow were the maintenance team on duty when things began to go off script. Initially the team was on hand to marshal an aircraft in and out of parking to facilitate an engine running crew change (ERCC). However, this attentive and safety-conscience team identified a significant amount of fluid near the parking location after the aircraft had taxied to continue its mission.
Understanding the significance and complexity of the mission, the maintenance team swiftly utilized their chain of command to direct the aircraft to immediately land and return to parking to prevent a potentially catastrophic hydraulic failure. The now airborne aircraft was contacted and expedited their return to parking for further maintenance inspections. Following the aircraft’s safe return, the maintainers of the 317 AMXS expertly identified an out of tolerance leak in the left hand main landing gear and grounded the aircraft. The safety awareness and risk management demonstrated by this maintenance team directly prevented a potentially significant mishap and ultimately brought Air Mobility Command’s first Full Spectrum Readiness emergency to a safe conclusion.
Please join us in congratulating the following safety minded maintainers from the 317 Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dyess AFB, Texas: