Fleet Services: APS Airmen get their hands dirty

  • Published
  • By Tyler Hemstreet
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The tools of their trade are neatly organized in the back of a white, windowless truck parked at the loading dock of a building at the edge of the flightline.

Each stack of coffee stirrers, cups and paper towels has its own spot in the neatly cordoned-off rear of the truck.

There are also spots for motion sickness bags, packs of ear plugs, wet wipes and mini bars of soap.

The items are must haves for local missions, and the restocking of each and every airplane is just one of the many jobs the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron's fleet service section does on a daily basis.

But the coffee stirrers and ear plugs they supply are just the tip of the iceberg.

"No matter what happens, they touch every single aircraft on the base," said Capt. Andrew Stewart, 62nd APS, the section's flight chief. "They're one of the busiest sections in the squadron."

Each day, Airmen are divided into two groups, the clean and the dirty, said Staff Sgt. Jared Hatcher, 62nd APS.

Servicing each aircraft's lavatory is considered one of the dirty jobs.

"It's just a matter of pumping out the old and putting in the new," Sergeant Hatcher said.

Fully clad in an off-green jumpsuit, protective face shield and latex gloves, Airmen operate the section's lavatory service truck and remove the misty, clear fluid called Kryotec from each lavatory and pump in new fluid.

Other dirty jobs include removing any garbage from the airplane and disposing of it. Sometimes even that task takes extra care, as the section is responsible for sterilizing the garbage from international flights.
The section sterilized more than 7,000 pounds of garbage last year, Sergeant Hatcher said.

They also prep each Air Transportable Galley and Lavatory that has to be loaded ready to be loaded onto an aircraft. The ATGL, a portable mini dinette and toilet unit, are put on flights that require extra comfort or added lavatory facilities for distinguished visitors.

Restocking each aircraft is considered a clean job.

The section builds and maintains first aid kits for the jets so crews can provide passengers any needed medical supplies during the flight. An ample supply of pillows and blankets are also on hand in the warehouse, ready to be taken out to any aircraft with passengers that need them.

With the help of the flight kitchen, fleet services also makes sure each of the flight meals make it to the correct aircraft.

Last year alone, the section serviced 5,800 missions and delivered more than 1,900 meals, Sergeant Hatcher said.

Through it all, the section even made sure certain unused items on returning flights were recycled, saving the Air Force $5,400, Sergeant Hatcher said.

Due to the fact that each aircraft is on a tight mission schedule, fleet services works extra hard to keep it that way.

"There's a lot of coordination and communication as the night crew sets up for the morning crew," Sergeant Hatcher said. "We touch everything so each task is crucial in its own way."