Yokota Air Base, Japan --
As the Pacific’s premier power projection platform, it’s Yokota Air Base’s mission to provide air power, and there is no air power without ground power.
For every hour one of Yokota’s C-130J Super Hercules flies, it takes many hours of on the ground preparation and maintenance. The 374th Maintenance Squadron’s aerospace ground equipment flight ensures the various machinery used on the flightline such as generators, flood lights, air conditioning units or aircraft jacks, are ready to be used when needed.
“Our mission is to provide ground equipment support to all of Yokota’s assigned aircraft to include Air Mobility Command and transient assistance missions,” said Master Sgt. Daniel J. Sipera, 374 MXS AGE flight chief. “Additionally, the AGE flight prepares and mobilizes equipment for deployments as tasked by higher headquarters.”
Yokota’s ability to support any aircraft goes farther than just having a long runway, AGE is responsible for over 400 pieces of equipment. Much of the equipment is for specific aircraft and must always be ready to go. This equipment helps enable Yokota to support any aircraft large or small, and any aircraft that lands or takes-off from the base uses AGE.
With all the equipment and Yokota’s high operations tempo, the AGE is never out of work.
According to Airman 1st Class Cody Noel, 374 MXS AGE technician, a piece of equipment can take anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days to fix depending on the severity. Each piece of equipment must also undergo regular inspections and preventative maintenance to ensure that everything is working properly.
Over $14 million dollars’ worth of equipment is maintained by the AGE flight’s 49 Airmen. The flight is split into three sections: the inspection section preforms preventative maintenance, the maintenance section repairs equipment that malfunctioned while on the flightline as well as any major repairs that are needed, and the servicing pickup and delivery section manages the placement of equipment on the flightline and access what equipment needs maintenance or inspection.
The Airmen in the AGE flight are jacks of all trades when it comes to mechanical maintenance and use teamwork to ensure flightline mission readiness.
“We are able to work on all kinds of different pieces of machinery here in AGE,” said Noel. “We get to learn a lot about all kinds of equipment and if you don’t know something there is always someone here who knows the answer and is happy to show or teach you.”
Each day the Airmen in the AGE flight get to see their impact on the base’s mission.
“When something breaks down and an aircraft can’t take off until that piece of equipment is replaced by us, we have to move fast to make sure they are good to go,” said Noel. “It’s nice to see that accomplishment as the plane takes off thanks to us in AGE.”
Through the dedicated work done by the Airmen in the AGE shop Yokota’s flightline is prepared to handle whatever may land at the U.S. Air Force’s premier Pacific airlift hub.