RAF MILDENHALL, England --
At RAF Mildenhall, those who call the flight line home do everything they can to put the pieces of an aircraft puzzle together and put jets in the air; but the job couldn’t be done without a little-known shop on base – the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron flight service center.
This behind-the-scenes team of Airmen is essential to the mission because they serve as a vital link between maintenance squadrons on base and the clients from which parts are acquired.
“Our mission is to process aircraft parts in order to maintain an accurate supply system on base,” said Airman 1st Class Patrick Fitzgerald, 100th LRS flight service center technician. “Each day we receive items classified as DIFMs or ‘Due in For Maintenance’, and determine what needs to happen for each individual asset.”
As a part of the materiel management flight, the FSC Airmen are responsible for the tracking, inspecting, verifying, delivering and pickup up of all aircraft parts on base.
During this process, parts can be classified into three different categories:
- “Unserviceable Repair”: items that are unable to be used on the flight line until they are repaired
- “Unserviceable Condemned”: items that are unable to be salvaged and must be disposed of appropriately
- “Serviceable”: items that are repaired or received by the FSC and put back into rotation for maintainers to use
“We usually start our day by receiving DIFMs, making sure all the paperwork matches the parts delivered and then taking accountability for all the items,” Fitzgerald said. “Whether it’s preparing some to be shipped out for repair or disposal, or bringing those which can be used into the warehouse, we are constantly churning out the tools and parts our maintenance professionals need on the line.”
In conjunction with these duties, FSC Airmen maintain records for items that need to be turned in, negotiate with supply clients and act as points of contact between the shop and supply units within each maintenance unit.
The FSC supports all maintenance shops on base to include the 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 100th Maintenance Squadron, 352nd Special Operations Wing and the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron.
“Communication is vital in this job, so it must be constant and professional to ensure we have the ability to get after the mission every day,” Fitzgerald stated. “Without it, we can’t properly do our job, which in turn doesn’t allow our teammates to keep jets in the air.”
For Fitzgerald and the rest of the team, being able to interact with Airmen from around base and gain valuable job knowledge provides an extra sense of motivation to get the job done.
“There is so much to learn every day,” Fitzgerald said. “You can gain an understanding of new concepts all the time and there are so many ways to improve skills and better yourself as an individual.”
Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Binegar, 100th LRS flight service center technician, agreed.
“We’re very essential to the mission because we serve as a focal point for all maintenance units on base,” Binegar said. “The men and women who work so hard to keep the fight going would not be able to do their job – we always get them what they need.”