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By Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens
JBER Public Affairs
The 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron Flightline Maintenance Airmen keep flightline maintenance vehicles at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson functioning so that the mission never stops.
“We work on many vehicles here at Flightline Maintenance that support the everyday mission and aircraft here on JBER,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Clayton Postlethwait, the non-commissioned officer in charge assigned to the 673rd LRS/LRGV flightline maintenance shop.
A few of these vehicles include K-loaders, used to load and unload large cargo and aircraft pallets; deicers, used to de-ice and anti-ice aircraft so they can safely fly in Arctic conditions; and aircraft tow tractors, used to move aircraft around the flightline. Currently, 128 vehicles are maintained by flightline maintenance, ensuring flightline operations keep moving.
In addition to regular maintenance on government vehicles, flightline maintenance Airmen work during the summer to inspect, repair, and maintain de-icers, so when winter comes, the inclement weather doesn’t stop the mission. They use a 125-line item checklist to ensure that everything works and is prepared for Arctic weather at JBER.
“In the summertime we do what we call summer rebuild on all aircraft deicers,” said Keith Sheltra, a flightline maintenance foreman at the 673rd LRS. “We go from top to bottom, front to back and more to ensure that everything is repaired on these deicers ensuring that when wintertime comes, vehicles are readily available to deice all aircraft safely and
Airmen work in sub-zero temperatures during the winter to ensure that operations on the flightline are effective. The inclement weather causes part-shipping delays which can complicate the maintenance.
The airmen from the 673d LRS are able to succeed in repairing 20 different types of vehicles in these harsh conditions. They are key to a successful mission.
“Flightline Maintenance supports all of the aircraft, not just fighter [aircraft],” said Postlethwait. “Without us, planes don’t fly and cargo doesn’t move.”