Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: February, 2011 (22) Currently Viewing: 21 - 22 of 22

February 24, 2011 at 7:33am

62nd Medical Squadron earns excellent HSI rating

Staff Sgt. Chad McGregor, left, Capt. Michael Webber and Tech. Sgt. Eric Peterson, all with the 62nd Med. Sqdn., received the outstanding performer award during the Health Service Inspection conducted last month at the McChord Field Clinic. (U.S. Air Forc

The 62nd Medical Squadron and the McChord Clinic at McChord Field can say with pride that their duty performance is "excellent" -- they have the inspection paperwork to prove it.

A team from the Air Force Inspection Agency's Medical Operations Directorate visited the 62nd MDS late January to assess the unit's ability to deliver quality patient care, occupational health and deployment readiness. The base's Health and Wellness Center was also evaluated.

The inspection team gave the squadron and its 73 active-duty Airmen and civilian employees an overall rating of 90 percent; all individual elements of the squadron earned at least three of the maximum four points, giving the unit its "Excellent" rating.

The intensive four-day Health Services Inspection showcased how well the clinic delivers medicine to its Airmen, said Col. (Dr.) Catherine Bard, 62nd MDS commander. 

An "excellent" on the inspection "shows that the 62nd Medical Squadron is meeting its mission to ensure that the (62nd Airlift Wing) and tenant organizations can meet their mission, and we are doing it in an excellent fashion."

This was not a normal inspection most Air Force bases' clinics undergo. Because the McChord Clinic now falls under Joint Base Lewis-McChord, certain health care elements performed by Air Force personnel now belong to the Army and Madigan Healthcare System, Bard said. Other requirements have gone away completely. 

The clinic typically gets inspected every three years, but McChord was given a one-year waiver to prepare for this inspection to have adequate time to sort out each service's responsibilities under the new joint base structure, she said. And because this was the first clinic to be evaluated as a joint base, generating the Air Force's first interservice, limited-scope Medical Treatment Facility Health Services Inspection.

"(AIFA) recreated their computer program in order to be able to test us," said Bard. 

Two major achievements noted by the inspection agency were McChord's new Acute Care Walk-in Center, or what the Army would call "Sick Call." Airmen not needing to go to the emergency room can use ACWIC to be seen by a health care provider. Follow-on appointments can be made if future visits are deemed necessary by the provider. As a result, the ACWIC has significantly reduced the number of visits active-duty Airmen make to the emergency room, Bard said.

The inspection team looks at thousands of pages of documents, and keeping track of who does what can be difficult. The 62nd AW's new matrix of responsibility details what medical services are performed by the Air Force and which are done by the Army. The matrix document alerted inspectors to what medical services are provided at McChord Field or Madigan Healthcare System. 

"The matrix should serve as a template for other joint bases to emulate, but realizing that each base will have different support networks and internal staff capabilities to consider," wrote the inspection team to Bard.

The inspection team recognized three 62nd AW Airmen as outstanding performers, which recognized those medical and service professionals who went beyond the requirements of their jobs. Tech. Sgt. Eric Peterson, McChord Clinic's public health non commissioned officer in charge, said even though he received the honor, getting the job is a team effort. 

"We all work as a team to help everyone out in this clinic," Peterson said.

February 26, 2011 at 5:50pm

62nd MXS maintenance flight keeps aircraft safe, prepared

Airman Horew An, 62nd Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental technician, repairs the air conditioning system of a C-17 Globemaster III as part of a routine maintenance inspection Feb. 24 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force photo/

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- "When an aircraft breaks down, the obvious reaction is find the problem, fix it and get it back in the air," said Tech. Sgt. Adam Balmer, 62nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "Well, here in the maintenance flight, our job is to proactively do our best to prevent that break down from ever happening."

With more than 130 Airmen, the maintenance flight is the largest in the 62nd MXS. The flight conducts around-the-clock operations to support the flightline mission. 

"There will always be a crew here, no matter what time of the day or night," said Sergeant Balmer. "We work 12-hour shifts to get the plane inspected, repaired and back to the flightline as fast as possible."

The 62nd Maintenance Squadron is compiled of seven flights: accessories, time measurement diagnostic equipment, fabrication, aerospace ground equipment, munitions, avionics and maintenance. 

"This flight's product is the maintenance squadron's mission," said 1st Lt. Nathan Lucero, 62nd MXS maintenance flight commander. "Our responsibility is to get the aircraft inspected, repaired and back to the flightline in the best condition possible." 

The maintenance flight is broken down into smaller sections, such as home station check and repair and reclamation. It operates in the "back shops," and is not to be confused with the aircraft maintenance flights, which operate on the flight line. 

"On the flightline, aircraft are always coming and going," said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Gloss, 62nd MXS maintenance flight chief. "The aircraft maintenance squadron has a reactive mindset. Here, it's more of a controlled environment. It's more preventative. We conduct routine inspections to catch the discrepancies before they turn into problems."

According to Sergeant Gloss, every aircraft runs on a 180-day inspection cycle. 

"We see the planes in here about every six months, and there are four phases of maintenance," said Sergeant Gloss. "In each of the phases, there are specific items that need to be inspected and cleared. So each time a specific plane comes in, it goes through the next phase of inspection. It usually takes just about two years to touch every part of each aircraft."

While the maintenance flight conducts thorough inspections, they also work with the other 62nd MXS flights to complete the mission.

"We work very closely with the other flights," said Tech. Sgt. Johnathan Shew, 62nd MXS dock coordinator. "Each shop contributes different things towards finishing the task and getting the plane back to the flightline. One flight cannot complete their mission without the help of the other flights."

The Airmen of the 62nd MXS maintenance flight are dedicated and committed to ensuring the aircraft is safe and ready to deliver global airlift for America. 

"It's our personal responsibility to keep the planes always current, always ready, always available," said Sergeant Balmer. "You never know what's going to happen. And we need to make sure that we're prepared."

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