Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 25, 2016 at 7:34am

McChord Maintenance Response Team ready on a moments notice

A McChord Maintenance Recovery Team walks to a C-17 Globemaster III Feb. 18, 2016 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The team flew to North Island Naval Station, Calif., to repair a C-17 that had maintenance issues there. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon

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An inevitable part of flying any aircraft is that they will need maintenance at some point or another. One particular C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing needed that maintenance, when it broke down at North Island Naval Station, California, Feb. 16.

A four-person Maintenance Recovery Team from McChord Field consisting of two crew chiefs and two hydraulic systems specialists left Feb. 18, with little notice and had one objective, get the aircraft back on its mission.

"The only thing we had on our mind was getting the aircraft fixed as quickly as possible, by the book and on time," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Kuhn, 62nd Maintenance Squadron hydraulic systems craftsman and MRT lead. "We knew it was a problem with the hydraulic reservoir, so we did everything we could to prepare before we landed, so we could get to work as fast as possible."

This particular issue is not a common one, and that was the first time for either of the hydraulic specialists to replace this part.

"This is something that doesn't go bad often, but our best guess at this time was an over pressurization issue," said Senior Airman Jacob Remstrom, 62nd Maintenance Squadron hydraulic systems specialist.

There was no questioning the four airmen's resolve to getting the tasks accomplished. They all went to work as soon as their plane landed at North Island, which was at 8 p.m., and worked until the aircraft was fixed.

"This is my third MRT and it's always a team effort," said Remstrom. "We wouldn't have been able to get it done without the help from the (62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron) guys."

The 62nd AMXS airmen were Staff Sgt. Jeremy Aiumo and Staff Sgt. Tanner Evjene, both are McChord C-17 crew chiefs and were assigned to this MRT to help unload the flare system off the C-17, so the jet could safely be worked on.

"This is when we get to see the real purpose of our mission," said Evjene. "We came down here to get this jet back in the air as quickly as possible so it can get back to its mission doing something that is going to affect a lot of people."

North Island Naval Station may have room to accommodate C-17s on their runway, but they do not have facilitates or properly trained maintenance teams on station to help repair one. The McChord MRT had only the tools and parts they carried with them to fix any problems they would face.

"When you are at a remote location, parts and equipment are not readily available," said Kuhn. "When something doesn't go right you have to adapt and figure it out while still keeping it in the regulations for safety."

"It's about getting the job done quickly, but it's also about getting it done correctly," said Remstrom. "People are going to be flying on this aircraft, it has to be safe. One day I could be on it or my family could be on it, I have to do everything the best I can."

The four airmen for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, went to work as soon as they could and didn't stop until the job was complete. The C-17 was ready to take off in the next day's morning's hours back on its mission with few people even knowing the MRT had been there.

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