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62nd MXS improves efficiency through unit innovation

Airman 1st Class Kathryn Danley, 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanic, adjusts machinery inside a C-17 Globemaster III engine on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airman 1st Class Kathryn Danley, 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanic, adjusts machinery inside a C-17 Globemaster III engine on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airmen in the 62nd Maintenance Squadron conduct a home station check on a C-17 Globemaster III inside a hangar on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airmen in the 62nd Maintenance Squadron conduct a home station check on a C-17 Globemaster III inside a hangar on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airman 1st Class Jerrert Green receives training from Staff Sgt. Jonathan Daniels, both 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanics, on the engine of a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., May 20, 2020. Airmen have still arrived to their first duty stations during the COVID-19 pandemic and units at JBLM have made it a priority to make sure they are integrated into their new units and start receiving training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airman 1st Class Jerrert Green receives training from Staff Sgt. Jonathan Daniels, both 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanics, on the engine of a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Wash., May 20, 2020. Airmen have still arrived to their first duty stations during the COVID-19 pandemic and units at JBLM have made it a priority to make sure they are integrated into their new units and start receiving training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Daniels, 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanic, tightens a part on the electronic engine system for a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Jet mechanics specialize in work on the engines of C-17s, whereas crew chiefs conduct maintenance on other areas of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Daniels, 62nd Maintenance Squadron jet mechanic, tightens a part on the electronic engine system for a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Jet mechanics specialize in work on the engines of C-17s, whereas crew chiefs conduct maintenance on other areas of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airman 1st Class Michael Pinney and Airman 1st Class Jordan Hixson, 62nd Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, work on lubricating the air deflectors of a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airman 1st Class Michael Pinney and Airman 1st Class Jordan Hixson, 62nd Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, work on lubricating the air deflectors of a C-17 Globemaster III on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

A C-17 Globemaster III undergoes a major interior refurbishment during a home station check on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

A C-17 Globemaster III undergoes a major interior refurbishment during a home station check on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Senior Airman Timothy Shaw, 62nd Maintenance Squadron support section journeyman, checks inventory at the home station check support section on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. The support section provides tools and equipment to maintenance personnel who work on the aircrafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Senior Airman Timothy Shaw, 62nd Maintenance Squadron support section journeyman, checks inventory at the home station check support section on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. The support section provides tools and equipment to maintenance personnel who work on the aircrafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Senior Airman Michael Wilbanks, 62nd Maintenance Squadron support section journeyman, left, tests a flashlight before checking it out to Senior Master Sgt. John Williams, 62nd Mainenance Squadron flight chief, right, inside the home station check support section on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. The support section provides tools and equipment to maintenance personel who work on the aircrafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Senior Airman Michael Wilbanks, 62nd Maintenance Squadron support section journeyman, left, tests a flashlight before checking it out to Senior Master Sgt. John Williams, 62nd Mainenance Squadron flight chief, right, inside the home station check support section on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. The support section provides tools and equipment to maintenance personel who work on the aircrafts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airmen in the 62nd Maintenance Squadron conduct a home station check on a C-17 Globemaster III inside a hangar on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

Airmen in the 62nd Maintenance Squadron conduct a home station check on a C-17 Globemaster III inside a hangar on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., May 20, 2020. Every 180 days a C-17 receives a home station check, during which it undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikayla Heineck)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Airmen and leadership of the 62nd Maintenance Squadron (62nd MXS) here integrated a new schedule and framework for conducting home station checks (HSCs), March 24.

When the 62nd Airlift Wing changed to mission-essential manning to limit the spread of COVID-19, some people stopped physically coming into work, but members of the 62nd MXS can’t take their work home with them.

Home station checks occur every 180 days for a C-17 Globemaster III, during which the aircraft undergoes a thorough safety and functionality inspection. If they are not completed on time, the aircraft can be grounded. 

“When these aircraft are brought back [to the hangar], an inspection is done from nose to tail,” said Staff Sgt. Channing Mandell, 62nd MXS repair and reclamation journeyman. “Once here we have an inspection phase where we’re able to identify things that may have been missed while the aircraft was in service. It’s not where you’re just inspecting something to make sure it is serviceable for flight, these aircraft go through routine and major repairs.”

When the wing went to minimal manning, the HSC maintenance flight, along with accessories and fabrication flights, integrated a new schedule and personnel framework to comply with social distancing and limit the potential spread of COVID-19 while ensuring no loss to the mission. 

“The main thing that’s changed since the base went to mission essential is the number of days and hours,” said Airman 1st Class Brockway Blodgett, 62nd MXS crew chief. “Usually we work five days on and two days off, the two days would be the weekend, but now it’s switched to four on four off, it doesn’t matter what days of the week.”

The schedule features a two-team approach where each team is assigned an aircraft to work on so there is no overlap of the two teams. 

“The HSCs are scheduled back-to-back, which has allowed for a consistent workload and cut down our workforce per shift by 50 percent, limiting our Airmen’s exposure to the virus,” said 1st Lt. Kristina O’Sullivan, 62nd MXS flight commander. “We have 139 individuals and are the largest flight within 62nd MXS, so limiting our exposure presented a more difficult challenge. However, the original plan had us completing one or two HSCs a week and now we complete an HSC every four days.”

With this new structure not as many people are working at one time, but Airmen in the HSC shop have been able to facilitate all of the HSCs and maintenance requirements in a more efficient way than before. 

“The Airmen here take pride in the fact that we can turn a full jet inspection around in four days, and they should,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Williams, 62nd MXS Maintenance flight chief. “They said it couldn’t be done, but then guess what? We’re doing it.”

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