True support: LRS creates new parts shop for F-22s

  • Published
  • By Ilka Cole
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs

In December of 2018, the 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron stood up a supply shop here to support the 325th Fighter Wing’s F-22 pilot training mission.

Currently, the shop’s nine personnel support 31 F-22s.  They are responsible for 5,000 warehouse stock numbers totaling more than 98,000 assets worth more than $83 million according to Master Sgt. Marquita Gaines, 96th LRS section chief for the F-22 warehouse.

It all began after Hurricane Michael destroyed Tyndall AFB.  Air Force leadership determined the F-22 pilot training mission would temporarily move here.  The aircraft arrived Nov. 20.

Initially, the aircraft parts from the 325th’s maintenance unit’s deployment kits were enough to keep the Raptors flying.  Although Michael even left a mark on them.  Many of the parts were soaked, moldy, mildewed and damaged from the hurricane.

LRS established new processes quickly to get the parts to support the new mission in Dec. 2018. One month later, LRS had a new full-functioning aircraft parts store, said Gaines.

“It was chaotic. Aircraft parts arrived from Tyndall daily and they were scattered everywhere,” she said. “We worked hard to organize them to ensure the maintainers had the parts they needed. We searched for whatever they needed even if that meant calling other bases to locate parts.”

The due-diligence paid off.  The Raptors stayed in the air and the pilots and maintainers were thankful to the Panthers.

“The manning and the support from the 96th LRS allowed us to get the parts flowing in,” said Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Mahoney, 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit, 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “When we first got here, parts were scarce. But, as soon as we established the warehouse, the Air Force started filling it with the parts for us to be able to pick up the pace with the flying.”

To support the mission Airmen with the experience in supply and logistics were selected to ensure a well-rounded team, said Gaines.

The team worked with Tyndall Airmen to install shelves, racks, bins, and mobile containers collected from other facilities. Items were inventoried, labeled and organized. They equipped the empty warehouse previously used for F-35s one shelf and drawer at a time.

In addition to the creating the parts store, they set up secure storage vaults for an additional 8,000 assets.

To keep up with the aircraft maintenance and flight operations, the shop is open 24 hours a day, five days a week and 12-hour weekend operations. The warehouse is just across the street from the Raptor maintenance and operations units.

Since their arrival, the 325th FW has flown more than 4,000 sorties. And the 96th LRS supply chain keeps up with the demands of the mission’s high operations tempo.

“We fly more here than we did before,” said Mahoney.