The 86th Maintenance Squadron’s Aerospace Ground Equipment flight plays a vital role in sustaining key infrastructure and basic necessities for evacuees during Operation Allies Refuge.
The AGE flight’s normal operations consist of providing vital components and ground equipment for the Airmen on the flightline, such as the generators that provide power to the aircraft. They also inspect and maintain most of the maintenance equipment.
While supporting increased flight operations, the AGE Airmen have delivered over 4,000 meals, 28,000 thousand sleeping bags and blankets, 542 portable toilets, 165 pallets of water bottles and 60 hand-washing stations to the pods housing evacuees.
“We’ve delivered pretty much any and everything to the pods over the last few weeks,” said Senior Airman Jacob Pastorem 86th MXS AGE journeyman. “We also conduct maintenance and preventative maintenance on the flood lights and heaters in the pods to ensure the security and comfort of the evacuees.”
As of Sept. 9, the AGE flight has dispensed approximately 11.2K gallons of fuel for over 138 light carts and have delivered more than 40 heaters.
“My main priority during this operation is to make sure all of the lights and heaters on the flightline have fuel,” said Senior Airman Casey Dean, 86th MXS AGE journeyman. “Lighting is important out on the flightline at night, I couldn’t imagine if all the lights went out at the same time, so I take my job seriously. I have to refuel the lights and heaters daily, so between the two I dispense around 600 gallons of fuel a day.”
In addition to providing infrastructure for Operation Allies Refuge, the AGE Airmen have successfully navigated a 600 percent surge in 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing air traffic.
“We’re working longer hours, but I know it’s for a good cause,” said Airman First Class Christian Governale, 86th MXS AGE journeyman. “It’s satisfying to know that we are making an impact.”
The 86th MXS AGE flight has had a measurable impact on the quality of life of the evacuees in the pods. AGE Airmen donated approximately 200 stuffed animals for evacuee children and have provided, cut and fit foam for the creation of baby bassinets.
With approximately 18,300 equipment deliveries and hundreds of man hours they have embraced the tenet of service before self.
“I think my Airmen have had the greatest impact on OAR,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dominik Gutierrez, 86th MXS AGE flight chief. “We’re right in the center of everything, we have our hands in every aspect of what’s going on.”
The resiliency of the AGE flight Airmen and their ability to lead and move the mission forward has impressed their leadership.
“I am proud of our Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Shoup, 86th MXS AGE assistant flight chief. “They come in with a positive attitude and have done everything we’ve asked. They never ask when they’ll get a break, and are always looking for the next thing to do.”