By Airman 1st Class Codie Collins, 19 Airlift Wing
/ Published July 18, 2017
(Pictured from highest to lowest ranking) Master Sgt. Joseph Isaac, Staff Sgt. Jesse Barstad, Staff Sgt. Brian Wails, Senior Airman Tyler Gruber, Senior Airman Tanner Lunn, Airman 1st Class Christine Tourville, Airman 1st Class John Derting and Airman 1st Class Richard Yap from the 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron are the Tiger Team. After Striker Eight, one of Little Rock Air Force Base’s mission essential firetrucks, became unserviceable, the Tiger Team buckled down and fixed the problem. If the job was contracted, it would have cost the Air Force $68,000 in labor and the truck would’ve been out of service for over a month. The Tiger Team had Striker Eight up and running in five days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Codie Collins)
Working vigorously through 13 - to 16 - hour days, 91 degree Arkansas heat and hail storms, missing Memorial Day barbecues and time off with family and friends, eight members from the 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance shop completed the seemingly impossible.
Airman 1st Class Christine Tourville, Airman 1st Class John Derting, Airman 1st Class Richard Yap, Senior Airman Tanner Lunn, Senior Airman Tyler Gruber, Staff Sgt. Brian Wails, Staff Sgt. Jesse Barstad, and Master Sgt. Joseph Isaac earned the title of a Tiger Team by saving a mission essential vehicle in record time.
While performing routine maintenance on Striker Eight, one of Little Rock AFB’s P-19 Firetrucks, on May 8, 2017, Senior Airman Tyler Gruber, 19th LRS firetruck and refueling maintenance mechanic, noticed metal shavings in the truck’s power divider strainer.
After extensive research and troubleshooting, the team determined the power divider was progressively failing. Without this piece, the firetruck is unserviceable.
Unlike other vehicles, if the P-19 Firetruck is inoperable, missions come to an abrupt halt. Little Rock Air Force Base currently has two P-19 Strikers, but they both need to be in service at all times in order for C-130 operations to continue.
“Mission comes first,” said Isaac, Tiger Team lead. “If that truck goes down, so does the mission."
"If there are any landing zone missions at either Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Robinson or Fort Chaffee, we have to decide which mission to shut down. If the firetrucks are not fully operational, planes don’t fly because it creates a hazard.”
With their mission on their mind, the Tiger Team buckled down and obtained all of the parts required to fix Striker Eight in less than 48 hours.
“We sat down with the Tiger Team and challenged them to complete the project safely and efficiently in five days,” said Capt. Colton Reid, 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron V-Flight Commander. “We built a plan and it was executed perfectly.”
The tiger team began repairing the P-19 Firetruck on May 26, 2017,
These Airmen continued to sustain Little Rock AFB’s mission of tactical combat airlift through heat, grime and a time crunch.
“The record for replacing a power divider is seven days,” Isaac said. “The Tiger Team did it in five.”
The power divider was replaced and Striker Eight was fully operational May 30, 2017.
If the job was contracted, it would have cost the Air Force $68,000 in labor alone. The P-19 Firetruck would have been out of service for more than a month, disrupting every C-130 training operation at Little Rock AFB.
“Due to these Airmen, their fantastic work ethic and relentless effort, the Striker is back in service and Team Little Rock missed zero training missions,” Reid said. “There was not one complaint, gripe or moan about work. They came together as a team and totally embraced the Air Force core value ‘Service Before Self.’ I couldn't be more proud of these Airmen, or to be a part of this unit.”