6th OSS RAWS unit overcomes obstacle, saves Air Force money

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Foster
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

The 6th Operations Support Squadron radar airfield and weather systems unit restored MacDill’s runway to full capabilities by using an unique and unconventional method, Nov. 1.

The 6th OSS RAWS unit is responsible for monitoring and maintaining instrument landing system equipment across MacDill’s flight line. This equipment guides pilots in safely traversing the airway which is an essential component for mission success.

The RAWS technicians were placed in an unusual position when their buildings’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit malfunctioned.

“We definitely had to step out of our comfort zone,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Harold, 6th OSS RAWS noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s a huge learning curve in trying different ways to solve these unusual problems.”

Harold said that proper storage is crucial for maintaining the longevity of the landing system equipment, and with the HVAC system compromised, the components exposed to heat above its operating capacity would render the equipment unusable.

“I can know exactly what’s wrong,” said Senior Airman Rayn McIlroy, 6th OSS RAWS technician. “But without the part, I can’t do anything about it.”

McIlroy said that RAWS equipment parts would inevitably need to be replaced regardless of the HVAC incident, which shortened the expiration date of the parts.

Harold said that the incident revealed a funding predicament for the 6th OSS RAWS unit as there is a set allotment for part funds each year.

Leadership within the 6th OSS RAWS unit requested the use of squadron funds and directly contacted the manufacturer of their equipment to replace the parts. Taking this route allowed the unit to save approximately $7,000 and avoid having to wait several months to resume normal operations.

“If we took the traditional channels, we’d still be waiting,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Bose, 6th OSS flight commander. “The way we went about it allowed us to get the instrument landing system fully back up and operational.”

By using non-traditional methods, the 6th OSS RAWS technicians were able to save the Air Force money and bring back full runway capabilities to MacDill and its mission partners in a drastically shorter timeline.