Aircraft parts store supplies nuts, bolts of Air Force mission

  • Published
  • By Tyler Hemstreet
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
While at technical training school, Airman Laketta Evans, 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, wasn't shy about asking her instructors how the different jobs in the Air Force link together.

Airman Evans didn't have to wait long to find out how important the parts store is in the bigger Air Force picture.

"I didn't know exactly how much it would be a part of the mission, but after working here for two months and learning more, I saw what [my instructor] was talking about," Airman Evans said.

The parts store's main purpose is providing flightline support to the aircraft maintenance crews 24-hours a day, seven days a week, said Staff Sgt. Shane Johnson, 62nd LRS.

By keeping a careful inventory and watchful eye on a variety of aircraft parts, the parts store is a key cog in keeping each aircraft mission ready.

Each time a maintenance person comes into the store, a member of the 62nd LRS is ready to spring into action.

"We try and get them whatever part they need as quickly as possible," Sergeant Johnson said.

Whether that means finding a substitute part in place of one that's not in stock in the warehouse or locating the part in one of the many toolboxes throughout the shop, the parts store provides support no matter the situation.

"We are always doing inventories to determine what needs to be ordered," Sergeant Johnson said. "We manage it to make sure everything stays stocked."

In fact, the shops' large tool boxes keep everything from small screws and nuts and bolts to specialized gaskets and brackets. Bigger items such as aircraft doors and even thrust reversers are kept in the supply yard under a metal roof.

The parts store also serves as a storage warehouse for maintenance workers to keep aircraft parts.

Clearly labeled bins with each aircraft's tail number on the front filled rows of shelves out in the supply yard.

According to the status of each repair job, maintenance workers can store parts until there is an opportunity to install it, Sergeant Johnson said.

The real challenge, however, comes when a red streak is signaled.

A red streak happens when an aircrew needs a part as soon as possible so they can stick to their takeoff schedule.

"There's a little bit of pressure when we get a red streak," Airman Evans said.

The part store crew has just 15 minutes to take the order, see if the part is in stock, process the order and get the part out to the flightline.

Urgency and delivery aren't the only situations where the parts store helps out in a jam. It also provides part support for other bases.

"Sometimes it's faster for other bases to get a part from us than from the depot," Sergeant Johnson said.

The parts crew then puts the needed part on an aircraft and ships it out.

"We supply the Air Force as needed," he said.