Thursday, January 24, 2013

Maintenance Operation Center

by Senior Airman Wesley Wright
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/17/2013 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Keeping track of the maintenance of more than 20 A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft is no small task. Fortunately, the 442nd Maintenance Squadron has the maintenance operations center to stay on top of all things A-10.

The MOC provides a central location for up-to-the-minute coordination and accountability of A-10 resources for the 442nd Fighter Wing.

"We are the central hub for all the maintenance that goes on," said Master Sgt. Charles T. Cousins, 442nd MOC noncommissioned officer in charge. "We run the day-to-day operations - aircraft statuses, reporting, taking care of the flying and making sure pilots have spare aircraft."

Cousins said keeping all the departments and higher headquarters informed of aircraft status is vitally important.

"This is the place people are going to come for any aircraft maintenance information," he said. "If the commander wants to know the condition of his fleet, we can tell him. Even the Pentagon can, in real time, look in our system because of the data we put in."

To do this job, Cousins said, the MOC team partners with the MXS production supervisor and expediter on the flightline to ensure the planes have what they need. Even if a pilot is sitting in the aircraft and something breaks in the jet, MOC can call straight to the shop that can resolve the issue and get someone out to fix it.

"We monitor engine runs, two different frequencies on the radio and the crash phone," he said. "If there is any emergency we can get everyone notified so they know what is going on."

One such emergency occurred in July 2011 when an A-10 landed gear-up on the runway here.

"We had one individual in the MOC that night by himself," Cousins said. "Tech. Sgt. (Michael) Cook had to stay over, and with things like that you have everyone calling. When that happens, you have to step back and take one thing at a time."

Cook, a 442nd production controller, has worked in the MOC for three years.

"You spell his name R-E-L-I-A-B-L-E," Cousins said. "He is good at what he does."

Cook said MOC is vital to the wing's mission of Training and Deploying Combat-Ready Airmen.

"If the correct people are not informed, we don't fly," he said. "Completion of the mission depends on that timely exchange of info."

The operations tempo in MOC can go from a jog to a flat-out sprint, Cook said.

"There are times when you have a little downtime," he said. "And there are times where you look at the clock, and then look back, and suddenly its hours later."

Cousins agreed the pace can pick up very suddenly.

"It can be feast or famine," he said. "When things happen in here, they happen very rapidly."

Being able to multitask is essential, Cousins said. Calls can come in on top of each other, and being able to get all the information down and entered into the system can be a challenge, especially if manning is short.

While it can get busy, the MOC gets the job done, providing coordination and accountability to the maintenance operations of the 442nd MXS. Well-trained maintainers there keep jets running so the pilots can perform the mission.

Source (no photos included)

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