Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

December 30, 2015 at 12:01pm

Airmen discover vehicle issues

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Maintenance vehicles can potentially impact the mission as much as maintainers. Without the proper maintenance equipment, the mission can be delayed or even halted. With the current operations tempo sustained at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, mission delays or stoppages can negatively impact the lives of individuals on any continent.

One of these vehicles frequently utilized by the 62nd Maintenance Group is a Bobtail, which is a single-cab truck with a pintle hook-style tow hitch, used for towing heavy maintenance equipment. Some of the aircraft maintenance equipment this vehicle is commonly used to tow includes liquid oxygen carts, nitrogen carts and light carts.

During the course of his everyday duties, Airman 1st Class Brandon Reed, 62nd Maintenance Squadron aircraft ground equipment apprentice, discovered a problem with the pintle hook of one of the Bobtail vehicles.

"When I got ready to unhook (a fuel bowser), I noticed the pivot bolt was hanging by the lanyard that it is attached to," said Reed. "When I released the quick release pin, the pintle hook fell apart."

For military use on aircraft flight lines, some small modifications are required on the Bobtail vehicle for safety purposes. One of these safety modifications is the addition of a lanyard on the pintle hook, which prevents the loss of the pin by connecting it to the pintle hook. The placement of the lanyard caused the problem, Reed discovered, because the lanyard was attached to the pivot bolt, preventing the pivot bolt from being properly secured. Specifically, not enough threads of this pivot bolt were exposed once the nut was installed.

"Airman 1st Class Reed discovered, during the course of his normal duties, that the primary pintle hook of his Bobtail was missing some crucial hardware, specifically the nut on the pivot bolt which secures the top half of the pintle hook assembly, holding everything in place, which includes the equipment being transported," clarified Master Sgt. Michael Applegate, 62nd MXS AGE flight chief.

Upon further inspection by the 627th Logistic Readiness Squadron's vehicle management flight, it was discovered that the placement of the lanyard was installed the same way on 14 different Bobtail vehicles. While all Bobtails had the required hardware, the lanyard has since been relocated on all vehicles to ensure there is adequate thread protrusion between the hinge bolt and nut.

Reed enlisted in the U.S. Air Force last year and has been stationed at JBLM for less than a year. After he began working on the family farm at age 6, he eventually gained mechanical experience working on and repairing the farm equipment. He desired a maintenance career, and enlisted with a contract for the AGE career field.

"Reed's work ethic and mechanical aptitude has impressed me since day one, not to mention his natural responses to situations which are outside the norm," said Applegate.

Since his discovery, Reed has been lauded by his leadership in the AGE flight and coined by Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, for his attention to detail.

"It makes me feel proud of what I do. If I would have not noticed the issue or ignored it then I could have potentially lost the piece of equipment I was towing and caused major damage to an aircraft resulting in high damage costs and delayed missions," said Reed.

Undoubtedly, Reed realizes the significance of his discovering this issue, and the positive impact it has on the mission at McChord Field. His hard work and attention to detail has not gone unnoticed and it seems he will have a bright future.

According to Applegate, "With this type of start to his career, the sky's the limit."

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