KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Operating and maintaining aircraft is hard work, and when the going gets tough the 18th Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) is ready to answer the call.
With 26 Airmen working around-the-clock, the MOC serves as the liaison for all of Kadena’s aircraft maintenance units by responding whenever there is a need for supplies or mission updates.
Calls for assistance can include jet refuels, tow requests, engine runs and being connected with fellow maintenance organizations for cooperative operations.
The MOC also responds to situations that may involve direct danger to personnel on the flight line or conditions that can deter mission capabilities, such as performing a recall when there is lightning within five miles of the base.
“The 18th Maintenance Group is PACAF’s busiest MOC,” said Tech. Sgt. Cristian Jaramillo, 18th Maintenance Group MOC assistant section chief. “We directly support the KC-135, HH-60, F-15, and E-3 aircraft assigned and also provide support to all Navy, Marine Corps and transient aircraft that arrive in Kadena.”
The support provided for aircraft can range from tracking flights and their crews to overseeing typhoon sheltering for U.S. and allied nation aircraft.
Airmen from each AMU can volunteer or get selected to help the operations center have a variety of different job backgrounds and mindsets. The accepted individuals are then brought in for at least a two-year rotation before returning to their original duties.
“Whenever a problem comes up that involves a certain shop we can make a better judgment call on what we need because we have information from our personnel,” said Staff Sgt. Keith Weitz, 18th MXG MOC senior board controller. “It also helps people create a wider network once they leave the MOC, so we have those contacts and friendships when we’re busy with maintenance.”
As missions are performed and data is gathered, the MOC consolidates all information they have regarding operations into slides to share with the maintenance group commander. These slides tell the commander how the AMUs are performing to then pass on to further leaders who may need the information.
During emergencies, the MOC provides commanders with 24/7 notification capabilities and allows them to make quick decisions as a situation develops, and ensures all assets are protected.
“Without the MOC, units would be severely hindered or delayed in getting support,” Jaramillo said. “We make it easy for local leadership to pinpoint issues to address in order to maximize aircraft availability and flexibility for any situation that may occur.”