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CRW Airmen keep equipment in top-shape

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Sarah Brice
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Have you ever appreciated air conditioning during a hot deployment or taken electricity for granted until you had to rely on someone else to provide that electricity?

“We carry a pretty big stick in this wing … so we have a sense of pride in our shop,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Frank Stark, 621st Contingency Response Support Squadron electrical power production noncommissioned officer in charge.

Upon entering the maintenance flight, aerospace ground equipment and electrical power production Airmen need to learn how to maintain and operate equipment they don’t usually work with in their regular career. This equipment is specific to 621st CRW forces and their need to mobilize rapidly around the globe.

“There was a pretty big learning curve with all the training we had to go to,” said Stark.

Both AGE and power pro Airmen spend several weeks learning maintenance procedures on mobile shelters, air conditioning units, and military-grade generators used frequently in the field.

“Traditionally, in a civil engineer squadron, we typically maintain and operate just generators and aircraft arresting systems, which is the other side of our job on the flight line,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marquis Nelson, 621st CRSS electrical power production supervisor.

With the unique mission of the 621st CRW, Airmen often deploy to austere conditions without places to sleep and operate. Mobile tents, air conditioning units, generators and lights are brought in to provide shelter and comfort. If anything breaks down, the maintenance flight is there to respond and fix the issue. That responsibility continues after the equipment comes back to home station.

“Whatever you see at the campsite – all the tents and equipment – we are in charge of making sure it’s good-to-go, palletized and packed up,” said Stark.

The maintenance flights are split between the 621st CRSS at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California.

Traditionally, the AGE Airmen maintain different equipment and hold different certifications. That still remains true for items such as certain air conditioner units, but in the CRW, both AGE and power pro specialists have intermingled in order to maintain the necessary equipment when called upon.

“We’re all here together and we all enjoy the work that we do,” said Nelson. “The level of morale is through the roof; everyone has a great time.”

Despite being two distinctly different career fields in a normal unit, these two specialties have found a way to broaden their knowledge and skillset to ensure the CRW mission can continue with a smaller personnel footprint.