Dirty jobs of the AF

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Not all Air Force jobs are pleasant but they must be done. For the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, fleet services is the dirtiest job.

There are two sides to fleet service, dirty fleet and clean fleet. Each side is important for the comfort of the passengers and the crew, even though the jobs can be nasty and time consuming.

Once an aircraft comes to the flight line, whether from overseas or stateside, it is the dirty fleet's job to dispose of any waste and trash.

The lavatory service truck goes out to the aircraft and attaches a pipe to the plane. A handle is pulled inside the aircraft that releases the waste which then flows through the pipe and into the truck. At the end of each shift the waste is disposed of into a drainage hole.

"Dirty fleet is important because people need to be able to use the bathroom," said Airman 1st Class Eric Hastings, 436th Aerial Port Squadron fleet service. "It's not my first pick of jobs but it is needed and someone needs to do it."

Trash must also be taken off the aircraft and be disposed of but in a different way.

All garbage that comes from overseas is considered international garbage or regulated garbage. The loadmasters already have the trash bagged so dirty fleet must double bag it and mark it by aircraft. It is then taken and put into a cardboard box and weighed. Once it has been weighed dirty fleet puts a sealed label on the box and places it in a refrigerated unit until Clean Venture, the authorized garbage company determined by the Department of Homeland Security, picks up the trash twice a week. Dirty fleet maintains a log that keeps track every day activities to include: type of aircraft, tail number, the shift it was worked on and who prepared each individual box.

"The reason they keep it at a refrigerated temperature is so no bacteria can grow and any possible insects that came from overseas can't survive," said Kimberly Green, 436th Aerial Port Squadron foreman of ramp operations. "They don't want them to be able to infest the crops that are grown in America."

It is just as important for the aircrafts to be restocked just as they were cleaned off. This is the clean fleet's job.

The process of clean fleet depends on what an aircraft needs. Clean fleet can stock aircrafts with coolers of water, toiletries, pillows and blankets, or anything the passengers might need them equipped with.

"Clean fleet is actually very important because it is the little necessities that make people happy on the flights," said Airman 1st Class Brandon Young, 436th Aerial Port Squadron passenger service. "We keep them hydrated with the water we bring and toilet paper for when they need to use the bathroom. There are little things that you would need on the flights to get from point A to point B."

Clean fleet can be very time consuming and they start working three to four hours before the aircraft needs to take off. It is also important that they do their job right.

"I've experienced that you can make a little mistake and it be a very huge mistake, because something so small is actually something huge," said Young. "It's a chain reaction for everything."