News>Kirkuk vehicle maintainers keep mission going at Mosul
Airman 1st Class Chris Kuczynski (left) and Tech. Sgt. Greg Marchand, 506th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainers, perform maintenance on a 25,000-pound cargo loader April 2, 2010, at Forward Operating Base Diamondback in Mosul, Iraq. These Airmen maintain three aircraft cargo loaders as well as two pick-up trucks on the Army-controlled airfield to support its movement control team mission. Sergeant Marchand is deployed from Bolling Air Force Base, D.C. and Airman Kuczynski is deployed from Hill AFB, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tabitha Kuykendall)
Tech. Sgt. Greg Marchand (left) and Airman 1st Class Chris Kuczynski, 506th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintainers, perform maintenance on a 25,000-pound cargo loader April 2, 2010, at Forward Operating Base Diamondback in Mosul, Iraq. These Airmen maintain three aircraft cargo loaders as well as two pick-up trucks on the Army-controlled airfield to support its movement control team mission. Sergeant Marchand is deployed from Bolling Air Force Base, D.C. and Airman Kuczynski is deployed from Hill AFB, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tabitha Kuykendall)
by Senior Airman Mindy Bloem
506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
4/7/2010 - KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq (AFNS) -- For two vehicle maintainers attached to Kirkuk Regional Air Base, their job responsibilities extend beyond this base. They work at Forward Operating Base Diamondback in Mosul, Iraq, as maintainers for three aircraft cargo loaders.
Tech. Sgt. Greg Marchand and Airman 1st Class Chris Kuczynski, both members of the 506th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, work on the Army-controlled airfield in Mosul to support its movement control team mission.
"Basically, the MCT handles both the cargo and the passenger side of things on the airfield," Sergeant Marchand said. "Of course we Air Force vehicle maintainers are here to handle more of the cargo side of things. That's the whole mission here on the north ramp of Mosul, the movement of cargo and personnel."
The two 25,000-pound loaders and one 40,000-pound loader are used to load and off-load cargo pallets onto the aircraft. In addition to maintaining these three loaders, the men also maintain two pick-up trucks.
Sergeant Marchand, deployed from Bolling AFB, D.C., said he likes the variety of duties his career field affords him.
"It's different from my home station because the mission there is to support the Air Force band and the Air Force honor guard. There is no flightline, so we basically fix buses. Here, you're dealing with loaders and aircraft loading systems so it's something different.
The job variety challenges him.
I like to work on anything and everything I can get my hands on," he said. "If I can work on this, I will. If I can work on that, I will. I'm a gear head by nature."
For Airman Kuczynski, deployed from Hill AFB, Utah, fixing cargo loaders gives him both passion and purpose.
I love being a mechanic in the Air force," he said. "It helps the flights get in and out, depending on what they're loading and off-loading. (The loaders) don't break too often, but when they do that's what we're here for. We fix them so the mission can continue."
Because these maintainers make up a two-man shop, they have a lot of responsibility to shoulder.
"You're doing everything a vehicle maintenance shop would do, but we have only two people to make sure we get everything done in the allotted time frame," Sergeant Marchand said. "We are keeping our trucks maintained and making sure everything is rolling and moving so the mission can get done. What more can you ask of us?"
Sergeant Marchand said part of the mission success stems from preparation and being familiar with the aspects of the job.
"We check the vehicles every other day," he said. "We see what aircraft are coming in and how many pallets are coming in and out. We see how much cargo is being off-loaded, so I know which loaders are going to be used. We coordinate with the aero porter so when aircraft does come in, we can be ready in case something happens."
The sergeant said things run smoothly for the most part, but the stress arises when things go south all at once.
"We've been lucky this rotation and haven't had too many issues, but it does happen," he said. "Last month we had one that blew a hydraulic line and another one was due for maintenance. It happened at the same time, and when too many of the trucks are down you're hindering the mission. You just have to make sure you're working non-stop to get everything repaired."
Despite the things that can go wrong, Sergeant Marchand feels rewarded in what he does for the mission.
"I love the accomplishment of getting something done at the end of the day," he said. "I love how it feels after we fix a loader and it's running and ready to be used. You have something to show for getting dirty and grimy. You have a finished product, and it's nice to have to have something to show for your hard work."