Yokota fuels relationship with JMSDF
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota technicians responded immediately to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's urgent request to support four of their recently acquired C-130R Hercules, Oct. 8, 2015.
With the assistance from the 459th Airlift Squadron, three technicians with the 374th Maintenance Group flew on a UH-1N Huey to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, to provide specialized maintenance test equipment and on-the-job training to the JMSDF maintenance personnel.
"Their aircraft weren't displaying the correct quantity of fuel," said Tech. Sgt. Michael S. Hilton, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron instrument and flight control craftsman. "Without an accurate display of how much fuel is in an aircraft, that aircraft can't fly safely."
Each aircraft required a fuel quantity indication inspection. The JMSDF maintenance personnel ran into problems with their own test set, leaving them unable to verify the readings of each C-130Rs fuel tank.
"Once we arrived with our test set, we helped them troubleshoot the fuel tanks on the first couple of aircraft," Hilton said. "After they learned how to operate our test set, we transitioned to more of a supervisory role, answering any questions that would arise."
The Yokota technicians and JMSDF maintenance personnel spent their entire day working alongside one another, improving their interoperability while providing an opportunity to learn from each other.
"They do some things different from what we do, but a lot of their maintenance practices are the same," Hilton said. "Even though they hadn't been working with C-130s previously, they were very knowledgeable about their aircraft and were very eager about getting their planes in the sky."
After discovering the complications in each of the aircrafts' fuels tanks, the JMSDF personnel expressed their gratefulness of Yokota's quick response to their request.
"They were very impressed by how fast we showed up," said Arturo Armas, 374th Maintenance Group C-130 avionics and electronics specialist. "It really shows how well we work together with our Japanese partners. We've got each other's back."