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Team LR de-ices aircraft for mission success

An Airman talks to two Airmen.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brett Clayton, 19th AMXS flying crew chief, shows Airmen the workings of a de-icer truck at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. Airmen use a combination of hot air and glycol to de-ice aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable)

An Airman closes the door to a de-icing truck.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Vigil, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron guidance and control craftsman, closes the bucket door of a de-icer truck at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. Aircraft maintainers have to train on how to de-ice aircraft in the event of inclement weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

An Airman is in a de-icing truck.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Vigil, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron guidance and control craftsman, puts on a headset while sitting in a de-icer truck bucket at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. When de-icing a C-130J, an Airman sits in the truck’s cab and communicates with the Airman in the truck’s bucket on when to move to another section of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable)

An Airman is in a de-icing truck.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Vigil, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron guidance and control craftsman, waits for instruction while training on aircraft de-icing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. Aircraft maintainers have to train on how to de-ice aircraft in the event of inclement weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable)

A man points at Airmen in a de-icing truck.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brett Clayton, 19th AMXS flying crew chief, instructs Airmen on how to properly de-ice a C-130J at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. Airmen use a combination of hot air and glycol to de-ice aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

An Airmen is in a de-icing truck.

Airmen practice using the controls of a de-icer truck during de-icing training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 9, 2019. Aircraft maintainers have to train on how to de-ice aircraft in the event of inclement weather. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dana J. Cable)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Maintainers assigned to the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 189th AMXS make their way toward de-icer trucks on opposite sides of the flightline in the cold, brisk winter. De-icer trucks on the flightline during the winter months are a common sight, and they ensure Team Little Rock’s always ready to provide unrivaled, agile and resilient global mobility operations even in harsh environments.

19th Airlift Wing, 189th AW and 314th AW have been known to help each other de-ice aircraft to complete their respective missions after snow storms, freezing rain and other forms of inclement weather at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

“A lot of our guys don’t mind de-icing planes since the process has changed,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brett Clayton, 19th AMXS flying crew chief. “We used to be out in the elements de-icing aircraft, but now we’re in a heated truck using two joysticks controlling the hot air and glycol, just like a video game.”

Little Rock AFB maintainers are trained on de-icing if inclement freezing weather coats the aircraft in ice or snow. It’s as easy as having both hands on the controls while pushing down on the pedal, directing the truck down the side of a C-130J or C-130H.

Despite being a very common task, missions at Little Rock AFB couldn’t be executed safely without it. If ice and snow build up on the aircraft, the airflow on the wing breaks up, causing a safety hazard while in flight.

Numerous everyday tasks and routine aircraft maintenance must pause after inclement weather, since aircraft must be de-iced before they can be serviced for any mission. De-icer trucks can become inoperable due to maintenance issues; regardless of these complications, partner units leverage each other’s strengths to ensure effective mission execution.

“There have been times when both of our de-icers were down for maintenance and we had to rely on borrowing a deicer from the 19th AW to de-ice our planes for our mission,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nathan Poindexter, 189th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent. “It’s been anywhere from them telling us to go ahead and borrow one of their de-icers, to them sending a crew to de-ice our planes, which was above and beyond the help we requested.”

Total force efforts between units is one example of the unique, singular focus Team Little Rock has on combat airlift.

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