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22nd LRS quick thinking keeps refueling the fight

Airman 1st Class Jacob McQueen, 22nd Logistic Readiness Squadron firetruck vehicle maintenance, poses beside a P-19 firetruck Jan. 6, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The firetruck is the similar to the one that had the starter replaced using salvaged parts from a snow-removal truck. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin)

Airman 1st Class Jacob McQueen, 22nd Logistic Readiness Squadron firetruck vehicle maintenance, poses beside a P-19 firetruck Jan. 6, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The firetruck is the similar to the one that had the starter replaced using salvaged parts from a snow-removal truck. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Colby L. Hardin)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The ingenuity of 22nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen saved flying operations here recently when a firetruck wouldn't start.

An aircraft rescue and fire-fighting truck part malfunctioned Dec. 9, 2015. It was up to the 22nd LRS vehicle management team to get the part replaced or fixed. They chose to replace the part because it saved time and prevented a potential negative impact on the flying operations.

"Once that truck went down, we went red," said Tech. Sgt. Gilberto Wilson, 22nd LRS fleet management and analysis NCO in-charge. "When we go red, the pilots have the option to stop flying because if something goes wrong the fire department need the capability to put out the fire and possibly save the pilot's life."

The Airmen understood they needed to get the firetruck back to the station in a timely manner.

"I knew we were in the middle of an exercise, and we had to send aircraft downrange the next day," said Wilson. "We also had local flying going on at the same time, so I knew it was going to be a rush for all of us."

The job was expected to be completed the next day, but the team shocked their leadership by getting the fire truck operational in just a few hours, allowing the base mission to continue.

The shop diagnosed the problem as a faulty starter. After the diagnosis, they observed the starter was similar to the one used in snow-removal trucks, and salvaged vehicle parts from a snow-removal truck.

"This was all new to me," said Airman 1st Class Jacob McQueen, 22nd LRS firetruck vehicle maintenance. "I've never seen the flightline get shut down like that, all I knew was if something mission critical needs to be taken care of, then we have to use whatever is available to us."

This type of initiative did not come as a surprise to the supervisory chain, but it definitely caught the attention of the squadron's leadership.

"I think our immediate supervisors knew what we were capable of doing," added Wilson. "But it was a really nice surprise to our higher leaders. It made them very happy to see that we took the initiative to beat the deadline."

This initiative is one way the 22nd LRS Airmen use innovation to keep the aircraft flying and the mission moving.