TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Experts from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Air Force Reserve, National Guard Bureau and the Legacy Tanker Division conducted a customer support visit here and at two other bases, March 14-18, to listen to unit concerns regarding KC-135 "Statotanker" support and logistics.
The team, headed by Maj. Gen. Glenn Davis, Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, AFLCMC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, also traveled to Birmingham Air National Guard Base, Alabama, and Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, with airlift provided by the 507th Air Refueling Wing here.
According to William R. Barnes, deputy chief of the Legacy Tanker Division here, the purpose of visit purpose was simple.
"We want to enhance aircraft availability," said Barnes. "it's all about getting more iron on the ramp."
The team of nearly 30 logistics, maintenance, acquisitions and engineering experts discussed topics ranging from supply rate times, sustaining engineering, product support management and part transportation.
According to General Davis, the open and frank discussions were beneficial as there sometimes can be a disconnect between metrics viewed at major commands versus what is going on at the ground level in operational units.
"Our goal is to get out to the units, to hear what needs to be heard and then do something about it," said Davis. "These visits allow us the luxury to interact directly with the units because the Airmen in the units are going to have really good ideas."
During the Tinker visit, members of the 507th Maintenance Group identified specific maintenance issues to discuss and provided hands-on tours of various back shops, as well as tours of the jets. Having the subject-matter experts on the ground allowed for real-time discussions and solutions to be implemented immediately.
According to Davis, visiting the base in person proved to be more productive than a teleconference.
"It was great to have the face-to-face interaction so I could put a face with a name," he said. "It helped us to get a better understanding of the concerns of maintenance professionals at the units."
Other agencies involved in the visits included, the Defense Logistics Agency, Air Force Sustainment Center, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Air Mobility Command.
The Reserve 507th Maintenance Group Commander, Col. Travis Caughlin said that the partnerships built during these visits are very important to KC-135 operations and the unit is always happy to assist.
The partnerships and plans built by these visits will ensure the nearly 60 year old KC-135 is flying well beyond 2030, according to Barnes.