Team Offutt comes through

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- During the president's recent diplomatic mission to East Asia, the presidential aircraft encountered the failure of several aircraft tires while landing in Vietnam. At no time was the president or his primary mode of foreign travel at risk during the unusual, but not unheard of, maintenance challenge.

It was then, with the leader of the free world scheduled to depart the area on the next leg of his trip mere hours away, that the crew of the E-4B sprung into action.

The crew, made up of aircrew, maintainers and numerous support personnel, quickly and efficiently conferred with members of the Presidential Logistics Squadron to determine the 55th Wing aircraft had enough spare tires aboard to restore the presidential transport to fully mission-capable status.

"Once we started doing some research and found our tires could substitute for theirs we knew we were in business. From there, things kicked into high gear and the entire team started putting into practice what we've been trained to do," said Master Sgt. Joel Burno, maintenance team chief and member of the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

With a near spontaneous response, the E-4B launched from a forward-operating location and rendezvoused with Air Force One. Once on the ground, the crew immediately went to work off-loading the necessary equipment and even providing some additional manpower to the Air Force One maintenance team to rapidly bring the aircraft back to operational status.

The actions of the E-4B crew did not go unnoticed. In a message to the 55th Wing men and women, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Martin, maintenance superintendent of the Presidential Logistics Squadron, said, "As a direct result of the incredible hustle, professionalism and willingness to help 55th Airmen displayed, the president was able to continue his mission on schedule. On behalf ... of all the members of the Presidential Logistics Squadron, I would like to express our sincere thanks for the above and beyond assistance your unit provided."

Brig. Gen. Jonathan George, 55th Wing Commander, had similar words for the people who made the mission a success.

"This is another spot-on
example of how the outstanding men and women of our team constantly meet every challenge they come across," he said. "Well done!"

Lt. Col. Michael Kosco, an E-4B pilot and member of the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron, credits the entire Nighwatch crew with responding to a real-world tasking in an timely and professional manner.

This was a complete team effort said the colonel. Top to bottom and front to back, everyone contributed and accomplished what was asked of them, all the while with a professional attitude and can do spirit Tech. Sgt. Spencer McLaughlin, lead crew chief and member of the 1st AMU, said of the opportunity to provide direct support to the president, Our maintainers and crewmates showed what they were made of and exemplified the best Offutt has to offer. Everyone played a part and did their duties flawlessly. It really showed why the Fightin' Fifty-Fifth leads the fight.