JULY 18, 2016, KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) – Aircraft maintainers hold themselves to a high standard when performing their daily duties, because they know one mistake could lead to devastating consequences.
Kadena Air Base is home to six different airframes and a partner unit that hosts two additional airframes for cargo functions, the C-17 Globemaster III and the C-5 Galaxy, making quality assurance Airmen vital to flightline operations.
“You usually have a maintenance section within an (air mobility squadron),” said Master Sgt. Daniel Hegar, the 733rd AMS quality assurance superintendent. “Since we are a partner unit, we rely on our host base. They provide us with everything we need for what we do for Transportation Command. We’re the preferred method of how TRANSCOM moves equipment and people across the strategic Pacific Air Forces area.”
The 733rd AMS quality assurance office ensures every cargo aircraft is mission ready at all times by checking the work done by maintainers. Frequent checks maintain a constant state of readiness for transportation, and the QA office performs a myriad of monthly inspections in order to accomplish the mission.
“We get in 57 inspections per month,” Hegar said. “It’s what we feel we are able to accomplish based on the requirements by Air Mobility Command maintenance policy, the traffic we have, and the manning we have. We inspect cargo aircraft for the Air Force and civilian (contracted with the military) sector. We have to inspect them before they go, since they are carrying U.S. troops and equipment.”
Constant scrutiny by QA Airmen ensures the safety of not only the high-value cargo, but also the lives of those entrusted to carry it.
“If we see something wrong, we ensure it is corrected,” Hegar said. “Here, every plane we launch is on a real-world mission. There are no training missions. There’s always real cargo out there going to people who need it. It’s what’s really cool about this job. There’s never a day where it’s pointless.”
The instant gratification Tech. Sgt. Steven Lawrence, the 733rd AMS QA chief inspector, receives makes him proud to be a member of the team.
“My favorite part of the job is being able to see your work immediately paying off,” he said. “I spot things which are not necessarily done often and help train and instruct the flightline guys where they may need refreshment on a task. Training them and seeing it pay off keeps our squadron alive and healthy.”
Both Lawrence and Hegar are proud that their contributions guarantee a safe trip and speedy delivery.
“It’s good to know everything you touch has a real-world impact,” Hegar said. “It really gives you a feeling of purpose behind your work. You see things happen in the news where we send aid to someone that’s real world; that’s where you get enthused, like, ‘yeah, our unit directly affected that.’”