JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
The men and women of the 811th Operations Support Squadron are responsible for maintaining aircrew safety and survival gear.
"Our job slogan is 'we are the last to let you down,'" said Airman 1st Class Lacey McGee, 811 OSS aircrew flight equipment technician. "The aircrew members rely on our knowledge to make sure their equipment is good to go, so they don't have to worry about its condition."
Since the 811 OSS supports the 1st Helicopter Squadron's 24-hour operations mission for the National Capital Region, the equipment has to be mission ready at all times.
They maintain more than 400 pieces of equipment to include: helmets, night vision goggles and survival kits for more than 170 aircrew members.
"Night vision goggles allow aircrew to do their mission regardless of the time of day," McGee said. "I really enjoy working on them - breaking them down. I have a keen eye for detail; I like taking things apart and seeing just how they work."
An aircrew member's life may depend on the equipment one day.
"I fully trust the work of the AFE shop," said Capt. Emily Ladd, 1 HS pilot. "Once we leave the ground, there is no troubleshooting, everything has to be functional. If I'm in an emergency and need their equipment, there is no time to swap it out."
This may sound intimating for some, but it is the daily operations of the AFE Airmen.
For McGee, the most challenging thing is to not become complacent.
"I have to remember that my job has the potential to save lives and I have to be on my 'A' game to make sure that the aircrew members are in the best care," she said.