DVIDS – News – Seabees supports flight operations



SIGONELLA NAVAL AIR STATION, Italy – The logistics “Mediterranean Hub”, NAS Sigonella is a strategic location in the center of the Mediterranean. As a NATO hub, the base plays an active role in supporting joint and combined operations in the European theater. It is the shortest logistics route between the continental United States and Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. It is the second largest security command, behind Naval Support Activity Bahrain. Home to 30 commands, including the air base operations department, the C-26 transport aircraft, which deploys with the C-9, C-40 and C-130 Naval Reserve aircraft.

One of the most critical details of base air operations is the maintenance of the airfield fire truck.

“Emergencies and plane crashes don’t come days in advance,” said William Casey, fire chief of NAS Sigonella. “Ironically, one of the worst things that could happen when trying to mitigate an emergency is that a vehicle breaks down or does not perform as expected. We rely on these vehicles as a platform. essential to the mission to provide firefighters and extinguishing agents to emergencies. ”

The most important tool for fighting fires is maintained by two Seabee from the Sigonella public works department. Two construction mechanics were certified as emergency vehicle technicians in fire apparatus maintenance, inspection and testing and fire apparatus design and performance standards.

“We attended a course in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to get a better feel for all of our Oshkosh gear.” said Corey Mason, 3rd Class Construction Mechanic, from Hermiston, Oregon, transport stage supervisor aboard the PWD Sigonella. “After that, we studied for a few months. ”

Testing isn’t easy, however, said Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Codi Clippertonallen of Albord, Texas, work center supervisor aboard the PWD Sigonella. There are about 120 questions with scenarios of two mechanics diagnosing a problem, and you need to select the best answer.

Fortunately, Oshkosh trucks are used in Seabee battalions, so their mechanical makeup is similar, but there are some unique challenges in working with fire trucks.

“All the bigger equipment is a bit the same, but the second part is the firefighting part,” Clippertonallen said. “You might as well ask the UT (Utilitiesman) to come and fix it because it’s all about plumbing, pressure and valves.”

While it sounds simple, it gets complicated when checking valves and keeping pressure to keep the hoses working, Mason said. Every vehicle has an engine, but add ladders and plumbing and it’s an entirely different troubleshooting process.

Even though the job is tough, these fire trucks are a safety requirement for the operation of the airfield.

“Last Easter weekend one of the trucks was not changing rpm (revolutions per minute) when they tried to pump, so there was no pressure when they tried to pump gas. ‘water,’ Mason said. “We went in and diagnosed for about seven hours trying to figure it out. We were taking things apart, looking at the wiring diagrams and found out that they were just two small resistors.

Like most ingenious Seabees, they used resistances from another truck and swapped them out to get the fire truck fully operational.

“Our parts were coming from the states, so we had a large backorder with COVID-19 and then the power outage in Texas,” Clippertonallen said. “It was one thing after another, and we couldn’t get anyone certified here, so it was up to us to get certified. ”

Yet the two mechanics draw on the industry expertise of the Oshkosh Defense School.

“All the instructors do is work on the fire trucks, and I talk to them when I have issues that I don’t know what’s going on,” said Clippertonallen. “They are geniuses. They go to the factory and watch it fall into place. If I tell them a little problem nine out of 10 times, they can help me solve it.

Overall, the Sigonella NAS is considered a Category Four airfield, which means it can support both small and large airframes, Williams said. They must have three airfield rescue firefighting vehicles capable of delivering 7,000 gallons of water.

“We are extremely proud of our Seabee mechanics,” said Casey. “They’ve spent very long hours under incredible pressure to keep a fleet of critical vehicles in service. We enjoy working with them and being associated with the maintenance of the fleet of fire and emergency services.

Date taken: 06/14/2021
Date posted: 06/14/2021 04:36
Story ID: 398823
Location: SIGONELLE, IT

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