MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
When an aircraft is no longer in production, the importance of preserving spare parts cannot be overstated.
Such is the case for the 167th Airlift Wing, operating C-17 Globemaster III which haven’t been manufactured since 2015.
Recently, two 167th Airlift Wing Airmen, led the charge to ensure aircraft parts, specifically electrostatic discharge sensitive (ESDS) items, are protected through proper wrapping, shipping and storage processes Air Force-wide.
Senior Master Sgt. Jim DeCicco and Chief Master Sgt. Mike Gregory collaborated with the program manager for the ESDS item process to rewrite the technical order guiding the electrostatic discharge (ESD) control measures.
“There’s always been a requirement to ship the ESD parts this way,” said DeCicco, the section chief for the 167th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s customer and maintenance support. “We really didn’t change the T.O., we just made the information more accessible and brought it to the attention of AMC.”
T.O.00-25-243, change 9 was published in June and the Air Mobility Command recently issued a directive to all AMC logistic readiness squadrons to complete an ESD inspection and correct improper packaging by the end of September.
“Resetting this program now will play a huge part in the preservation and serviceability of these spare assets for years to come,” said Maj. Christopher Tusing, 167th LRS commander. Tusing said Gregory and DeCicco have been championing this battle for two to three years.
Electrostatic discharge sensitive parts could potentially become damaged by 30-50 volts of static electricity.
“Not properly handling electronic parts, assemblies and equipment items can cause ESD damage or degradation when an ESD event occurs or when exposed to electrostatic fields. Items are vulnerable during shipping and storage.” explained Gregory, the quality assurance supervisor for the 167th Maintenance Group and currently serving at the National Guard Bureau as a weapons system manager.
“We work hand in hand with maintenance. Any parts that get issued, tracked or turned in, go through us,” DeCicco said.
167th maintenance was often refusing ESD parts because they weren’t wrapped properly. ESD parts that could not be bench-tested at the wing would be sent back to the sender, increasing shipping costs and delaying aircraft maintenance and missions.
“Anytime maintenance receives a part that isn’t wrapped properly they need to make the decision whether or not to accept it. The T.O. says they shouldn’t and if they do take it, it could compromise the safety of the mission,” DeCicco said.
“That’s really the key point here, to keep the iron moving, since we’re no longer in the production phase of these airframes.” Tusing said.