The Maintainers Recipe for Success; Team Work

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael S. Murphy
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait - With the C-130H Hercules departing Ali Al Salem Air Base last week, the C-130H maintainers deployed from the 908th Airlift Wing and the 166th AW are getting ready to depart ASAB and are reviewing their time here.

“What would an air base be without the aircraft?” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Don Prempramot, flight chief for the 779th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “The 779th EAMU has provided ASAB with a successful mission while combing the southern hospitality of Alabama with the northern charm of Delaware. The two units combined, with the two ingredients, together to produce a recipe for success.”

The 779th EAMU, also known as the Blue AMU, said as a group how proud they were of their work over the last several months. These units together have supported more than 1,800 sortie flights with a total of 3,600 flying hours. During these flights more than 5,700 tons of cargo was moved and safely transported more than 16,000 passengers.

“Our aircraft transfer essential materials and personnel throughout the area of responsibility,” Prempramot said. “The C-130H is the work horse of Ali Al Salem AB.”

The 779th EAMU also participated with multiple nations during the Bright Star Joint Exercise in Cairo, Egypt. During this time 14 operational flights were flown with 7 airdrops, which provided training to more than 60 paratroopers.

The Blue AMU also provided essential support to the Blue Marauder Exercise which focused on Agile Combat Employment and Multi-capable Airmen skills. The 779th supplied needed maintainers to perform hot refuels, show casing the C-130H’s adaptability to the AOR.

“We also supported a POTUS no notice tasking to transport seven evacuees outside of our support of Operation Allies Refuge,” Prempramot noted. “During Aug. 14-30, the 779th was part of 224 missions and safely evacuating 7,253 ally passengers and 5,256 refugees. These missions were tasked from Ali Al Salem AB and aided the support of the 124,000 people rescued after the Afghanistan withdrawal.”

Everyday has offered different experiences for all three organizations said USAF Capt. Patrick Mills, the officer in charge of the Blue AMU.

“The unique aspect about this deployment is the overall team in the 779th EAMU,” said Mills. “Prior to this deployment, we had very little experience working with each other.”

Normally units would send a team to a deployed location from the same squadron. The mixture of reservist and guardsmen gave an additional obstacle for the team to overcome.

“Here we had to merge two units from different backgrounds together to do the mission,” Mills said. “Another unique aspect is something shared by both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. Not all of the Airmen are full time military members and work in the civilian sector for their primary job.”

Mills said that this aspect of civilian Airmen brought moments where Airmen’s civilian skills came over in support of the mission. These skills transferred over into more than eight different spheres of work the 779th EAMU covered.

“Crew chiefs who do launch, recovery and general servicing of the aircraft,” said Mills. “Then you have the specialist. Some of these specialties are propulsion, hydraulics, electrical systems, communication systems, navigation systems and the guidance and control systems of the aircraft.”

Mills said coming into this deployment that he had a set of goals for his team. He said he hoped that everyone would walk away with good experiences to take with them back to their home stations.

“We faced numerous challenges from day one, the acclimation period for our people and aircraft, facing a manning shortfall the first few weeks in country and the Afghanistan airlift provided unique challenges for our unit,” Mills said. “Everyone kept a positive attitude throughout the deployment and had a very strong work ethic no matter what was through in their path. I saw people come together both professionally and personally in ways I never expected and almost instantly from day one. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people for this deployment and I will really miss everyone once we go home. From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone in the AMU for what they have done on this deployment, without them none of this would have been possible.”