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Yokota Herc wins deployed Aircraft of the Month

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A Yokota C-130, tail number 74-1685, deployed to the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, won the Aircraft of the Month award recently and garnered recognition for the aircrew, deployed from the 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"Crew chiefs are a competitive bunch," said Lt. Col. Miklos Kiss, 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, deployed from the 374 AMXS. "With 13 aircraft assigned here, we thought an aircraft "High Flier" program would be a very good way to recognize our strongest performers, raise the bar for aircraft appearance and create some good-natured competition along the way."

The aircraft commanders, along with the squadron commander, judge each aircraft based on hours flown, quality assurance inspections, delayed discrepancies, aircraft cleanliness and appearance, aircrew evaluations and personal appearance of the maintainer.

"Competition is a high tide that raises all boats," said Colonel Kiss. "Competition brings out the best in people and supplies a good-natured force to do a bit better than your buddy."

The competition was kept friendly and each aircrew brought their own personal flourishes to the fight.

"I hung an American flag up in the back of the aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. David Bragg, 386 EAMXS crew chief, deployed from the 374 AMXS. "I wanted to show my patriotism and hopefully instill a little pride in the other members of my team."

This was also a great experience for the newest member on the team.

"Although I have only been with this crew for three months, I have learned to be confident in what you do and have pride in your aircraft," said Airman First Class Jeffrey Boone, an assistant crew chief for aircraft 1685 and deployed from 374 AMXS. "It feels great to be rewarded for all of the hard work you and the others have accomplished."

Although the crew was excited with the recognition, the commanders were just as proud of the crew as well.

"I am proud to say that the competitive spirit is alive in the Air Force," said Colonel Kiss. "These crew chiefs fight, not literally, to take that number one spot, but the real winners are my customers.

These are the C-130 aircrew that bravely strap themselves into these wonderful flying machines every day and fly into Iraq."

This recognition was also noticed by the team's commander back here.

"I am very proud of the exceptionally hard work Yokota maintainers do every day all over the world," said Col. Michael Riddle, 374th Maintenance Group commander. "I think it is especially important to note this aircraft's dedicated maintenance team was from both the 374 MXS and AMXS. Our aircraft winning the best out of several wings at that location, only exemplifies what professionals Yokota maintainers are."