Kadena Airmen bare weather during ATR
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Typhoons, earthquakes and a tropical atmosphere are some common weather phenomenon experienced by Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan; but this couldn't prepare them for the variable weather patterns common at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
Since touching down here Dec. 1, members from the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have experienced cold climate conditions including snow flurries and pouring rain, making work conditions during the Aviation Training Relocation challenging for both aircraft and Airmen.
"Given the drastic temperature change, the F-15C [Eagle] has taken a few days to acclimate," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Martin, the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "For example, we have had to replace seals on certain components that normally last longer in our tropical climate."
Not only have the aircraft been affected by the weather, but the Airmen putting them in the air have battled through conditions they don't see in their normal day-to-day.
"The cold weather has slowed us down and made it really hard to work," said Senior Airman Dennis Franco, 67th AMU crew chief. "We aren't accustomed to the vast difference between Kadena and Misawa's weather--so our hands freeze making it difficult to work."
Although the aircraft have not been functioning per usual, the 67th AMU Airmen continue to work through the cold weather keeping the aircraft in the air for mission critical ATR training.
"Despite being constantly cold we are working more efficiently," Franco said. "Being in these conditions has made everyone grow closer and realize the more efficient we are, the faster we get out of the harsh weather. It also helps that we prepared in advance for obstacles we would potentially see here."
Working hand-in-hand has made a rather difficult situation bearable ensuring the mission critical training is successful.
"It is truly humbling to see the 67th maintainers work as a cohesive team and produce combat air power on demand," said Martin. "Each obstacle and challenge has been overcome due to the work ethic, dedication and focus we have to accomplish the mission. I don't know what the second best Air Force in the world is doing, but we're flying jets today."