MOC watches over Ramstein’s C-130 fleet

by Maj. John Dereix
86th Maintenance Operations Squadron

***image1***“Attention all radios this net: this is Wing MOC.”

The Airmen of the 86th Maintenance Operations Squadron provide 24-hour monitoring and oversight – 365 days a year – of aircraft status, movements and emergencies for the 86th Air Lift Wing commander.

They are in constant coordination with the command post and the base operations personnel to ensure the daily execution of the C-130 mission.

“It gets pretty hectic around here when we’re launching aircraft and scheduling and tracking maintenance jobs, all while monitoring telephones and radios,” said Senior Airman Rick Maye, a controller who has been working at Maintenance Operations Control for 18 months.

Not only do these controllers oversee the current maintenance status for the fleet, but they also keep their maintenance and flight line team members in the know when an aircraft is inbound with an emergency or if the weather is turning bad, especially if the winds are changing or lightning and other severe weather is forecasted in the area.

“Lightning within five miles of the base brings flight line maintenance to a grinding halt,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmy Defore, MOC controller.

“It’s a safety issue for our personnel and we can’t allow maintainers to continue working out there on aircraft, especially using metal maintenance stands and tools.”

The MOC recently moved from another building within the 86th Maintenance Group to their current location which is co-located with the Ramstein consolidated command post. The controllers now work side-by-side with command post personnel in a renovated facility with state-of-the-art radios, monitors and cameras to support the wing’s mission.

The merger has been beneficial to all parties involved.

“We were used to operating independently, but the proposal for co-location came about as a result of an AFSO 21 event and the current set-up has paid significant dividends in terms of communication and coordination,” said Master Sgt. Clarence Hensley, MOC superintendent. “It really made both agencies much more efficient.”

Together, they are the eyes and ears for the group and wing commanders every day and night of the year.