Fire truck maintainers save the trucks that save lives

Staff Sgt. Jason David
Air Force news Agency, Detachment 4

***image1***Aircraft maintenance isn’t the only type of maintenance that keeps the planes in the air.

There’s a level of maintenance needed to ensure aircraft can take off and land safely.

Workers in the 435th Vehicle Readiness Squadron’s Fire Truck Maintenance Flight help keep the flightline safe by keeping the fire trucks ready to respond.
“If the trucks don’t work, the planes can’t fly” said Staff Sgt. George Quillman, NCOIC of fire truck maintenance.

The mechanics service more than 50 trucks in the KMC area.

Mechanics perform basic vehicle maintenance like oil changes and engine work to the more job-specific tasks like repairing the piping system for the water that is unique to the fire trucks.

“Our school is five weeks longer than the average maintenance mechanics; the piping alone can give you headaches and you have to perform quickly,” said Sergeant Quillman.

The flight also needs to respond to any emergencies to these emergency vehicles.

“We go out on the weekends and after hours. In our profession we have to be able to respond to them in 30 minutes if something is inoperable,” said Sergeant Quillman.

Their job is so important it’s developed a close relationship with the firefighters.

“I have a weekly meeting with them to find out the status of our trucks,” said Paul Erikson, Ramstein’s assistant fire chief. “Because if there’s something wrong with our trucks and we don’t have enough water to put out a possible fire, the aircraft can’t land.”

The air operations may benefit from this small maintenance shop, but it’s not the aircraft on the flightline where Sergeant Quillman gets his satisfaction.

“When we go out and fix the vehicles, or they come in and we fix them, we let them go and we can see them up and down the flightline,  regardless if they’re responding to an exercise or if it’s an actual real-world (scenario),” said Sergeant Quillman. “We can see our work doing its work.”