FOD walks follow July 4 celebrations

Emily Reagan
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***The 86th Airlift Wing, 435th Air Base Wing and 723rd Air Mobility Squadron combined their efforts to perform joint foreign object damage walks and clean-ups following the July 4th holiday weekend events.

“It was a great demonstration of teamwork as we conducted the largest FOD walk in Ramstein’s history,” said Col. Rob Kane, 86th Airlift Wing commander.

The FOD walks ensured that all debris, which could damage aircraft engines, was removed from flightline areas July 5 to 6.

“Coordination like this takes teamwork,” said Master Sgt. Jason Schaefer, 86th AW FOD manager. “It was awesome to see how leadership provided the support to make this day a success.”

More than 200 servicemembers from the 86th Maintenance Group and the 86th Air and Space Communications Groups covered one mile of airfields, including Ramp 6 and adjoining taxiways, where the Freedom Fest took place. They removed everything from trash, booth fragments, nails and a few coins.

The following day, 60 people from the 435th Services Squadron gave the Freedom Fest areas a second comb over after rides and tents were dismantled.

More than 160 personnel from the 86th Operations Group and 86th Contingency Respond Group covered a two-mile stretch of the new southern runway, which is 200 feet wide. The FOD walk was essential in cleaning up materials left over from construction and in preparation for its testing and inspection for serviceability, said Sergeant Schaefer.

Also, nine large, yellow Xs, which served as warning signs for overhead aircraft not to land, were removed.

Another group of 30 servicemembers from the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron, a tenant unit on Ramstein, covered the Air Mobility Command ramp and adjoining taxiways, removing pebbles, wire bristles and hardware remaining from construction sites. After the FOD checks, the AMC and new runway areas were ready for testing and inspection.

“We removed a measurable amount of FOD, preventing possible FOD mishaps and ensuring AMC’s mission of supplying the war fighter,” said Staff Sgt. Cecil L. Tonguet, 723rd AMS Quality Assurance inspector.

As an incentive for everyone to search every nook and cranny for debris, four “golden bolts” were hidden at each of the FOD walk areas. The bolt finders were awarded certificates and one-day passes from work.

Afterward, members participated in a morale-building runway fun run, giving them a chance to see an up close and personal view of how enormous the new runway actually is, said Sergeant Schaefer.

“It’s great to see how well Ramstein pulls together as a team to get the job done,” said Senior Master Sgt. Guy Rader, 86th Operations Support Squadron airfield management superintendent. “I’ve only been here a short time and I can already see that units here work together better than any base I’ve ever been.”