Fleet services provides comfort for aircrew, passengers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shen-Chia Chu
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
Similar to a Special Weapons and Tactics unit, Airman Bullock signals his team to move out when a target's in sight.

"Fleet control fleet four," said Senior Airman Ted Bullock, 436th Aerial Port Squadron fleet services, with a call-radio in hand. "Arrive at Sierra row, ready to go."

The team rushes onto the scene and takes care of business. Airmen play their parts, swiftly cleaning and servicing any aircraft that comes their way.

Similar to SWAT teams equipped with state-of-the-art gear, fleet Airmen complete their mission with unique machines and equipment to 'clean up' and leave without a trace.

"We touch every aircraft that arrives and departs Dover AFB, ensuring they are cleaned and serviceable for the aircrew and passengers," said Airman Deven Kauppi, 436th APS fleet services.

Like invisible flight attendants, fleet Airmen replenish comfort items such as pillows, blankets and meals, clean the interior of the aircraft and provide other unseen services such as Fleet 10 which cleans and services lavatories.

"With today's operations tempo at Dover, we have the hardest working people doing a lot more with less at the busiest base that I've seen," said Master Sgt. Terry Scolley, 436th APS fleet services flight chief, a 23-year Port veteran.

They're Airmen who refuse to falter however dirty the job may be. Like the Airmen of Fleet 10, who dress in 'blue suits,' gloves and plastic face shields head out in a lavatory-service truck to drain the lavatories and refill them with 'blue juice.'

"Their line of work may go unnoticed, but their work provides direct support to the war fighters in the Global War on Terror," said Chief Master Sgt. Chris Henriques, 436th APS air terminal manager. "They're unsung heroes who should take pride in what they do because they are vital to the mission and they do a great job."

Just as planes won't fly without maintainers fixing them, aircrew members would not fly without fleet services outfitting aircraft with essentials such as fresh water, soap and other toiletries.

"Part of Dover's mission is to move cargo and passengers," said Lt. Col. Brian Fletcher, 436th APS commander. "Fleet takes care of nearly one thousand planes a month, providing direct support to the aircraft flying downrange.

"And without fleet, servicemembers and their families, and retirees would not be flying comfortably during the flight," he said.

The key to the mission is the positive attitude of the Airmen, said Sergeant Scolley, who enjoys mentoring young Airmen.

"I couldn't have asked for a better team," he said. "Working fleet is a unique experience within itself. Like any career, you begin to develop friendships that last a lifetime. In the Port, you're considered family."

Though these Airmen may have a dirty job, they still find a way to make their work enjoyable at the end of the day.

"What makes this job rewarding is the Airmen we work with," said Airman 1st Class Freemon Jackson, 436th APS fleet services. "It's not a glamorous job, but it's all about how you make it."