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Planes don’t fly without supply

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

At any given moment, the 27th Special Operations Wing has a variety of airframes deployed across the globe in support of special operations.

The men and women of the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron Materiel Management flight work behind the scenes to ensure MC-130J, AC-130W, CV-22 and MQ-9 aircraft deploy with the parts they need to remain operational when lives depend upon their precision.

“The Materiel Management flight is the base focal point and has responsibility for the management of supply assets for Mobility Readiness Spare Packages,” said Capt. Autumn Moore, 27th SOLRS Materiel Management flight commander. “The flight ensures MRSPs are properly maintained, monitored and stocked in order to support the 27th SOW’s aircraft deployment capability.”

MRSP kits are used to support designated aircraft for as many as 30 consecutive days downrange. During assembly, the aircraft type and quantity determine the contents of the MRSP.

“We have to maintain accurate inventories for each MRSP,” said Master Sgt. Michael Fuhriman, 27th SOLRS Materiel Management flight NCO-in charge. “Some of these parts cost millions of dollars, so accountability plays a huge role in our operations. Attention to detail is also imperative in this field. The kits we send out have to be 100 percent accurate and on time, every time.”

Each year, Air Force Special Operations Command issues annual base level authorization MRSP requirements to the Materiel Management flight. Once expectations are levied, Air Commandos set out to complete those kits as efficiently as possible.

“Generally, we are given significant notice prior to compiling MRSP kits,” Fuhriman explained. “That being said, we try to complete tasks as soon as they come down. LRS [Logistics Readiness Squadron] Airmen have a saying: Planes don’t fly without supply. If an aircraft breaks and maintainers don’t have the parts to fix it, that asset is out of the fight and the mission suffers. It’s high stakes.”

Generally viewed as a section for seasoned Air Commandos because of the nature of the job and the level of personal accountability required, Airman 1st Class James Meyer, 27th SOLRS Materiel Management MRSP apprentice, is the exception that exemplifies Air Commando excellence.

“The MRSP section was my first assignment out of technical school,” Meyer said. “I arrived here in April, and consider myself very lucky to work with this knowledgeable team, and have the opportunity to travel for Temporary Duty assignments in the near future.”

TDY assignments are second nature to Airmen specializing in MRSP kit compilation and oversight. Between the three MRSP sections, MQ-9, C-130, and CV-22, Airmen supported more than 38 TDY missions last year alone. When traveling, Materiel Management troops must keep track of every item within the MRSP with painstaking precision.

“I love this job,” Meyer said. “Starting in this section has prepared me for future responsibility and given me a breadth of experience I hadn’t expected so early on in my career. Our team has excellent focus, mentorship and chemistry which helps us execute the mission at a high level day in, and day out.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Fuhriman, with nearly 20 years of service under his belt, echoed Meyer’s sentiments and expressed the importance of their not-always-glamorous, but always critical occupation.

“We do it as a team,” the master sergeant said. “Inbound cargo, the receiving section, and vehicle operations each play a pivotal role in our mission. We support each other because it’s not about recognition; it’s about maintaining global reach at a moment’s notice. For the Air Force, that’s a no fail mission.”