Team MacDill conducts FOD walk following Tropical Storm Eta

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shannon Bowman
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – On Nov. 13, Team MacDill Airmen conducted a foreign object and debris walk to clear the flight line of any debris following Tropical Storm Eta, which brought strong winds and rain to the Tampa Bay area.

FOD walks are routinely conducted to clear aircraft maintenance areas, taxi ways and the flight line of foreign objects and debris that can be drawn into aircraft engines and cause damage.

“To put it simply, jet engines and rocks don’t play well together,” said Col. Wes Adams, the 6th Maintenance Group commander. “By doing FOD walks, we clear acres of flight line from debris that could easily damage engines and aircraft.”

During the FOD walk Adams and other MacDill leaders, such as Col. Travis Edwards, the 6th Operations Group commander, joined the Airmen of the 6th and 927th MXG’s to clear debris.

“During FOD walks, you get to see some of your Airmen while doing an important task,” said Adams. “But it’s about something much more important:  Never ask of your people a task that you, yourself, are unwilling. And on a personal level, FOD walks show that leadership is willing to stop what they’re doing and help pick up rocks.”

Even though walking miles of pavement, combing for the smallest pieces of debris may seem like a mundane task, Staff Sgt. Erick Flores, a 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron electrical and environmental systems craftsman, described flight line walks as a critical preventive safety measure.

“A single piece of metal can cause a domino-effect that could damage an entire aircraft, jeopardize missions and ultimately put lives at risk,” said Flores. “Clearing debris from the flight line is one of the simplest ways that we can help aircrews rest easy and eliminate one more obstacle that could prevent them from completing the mission.”

For Adams, it is important to recognize that even through long nights and tropical storms, the wrench-bending, tanker-mending maintainers of the 6th MXG are always there to drive things forward.

“Heaven help the roadblock that stands in front of a maintainer on a mission,” said Adams.  They were nothing short of remarkable and we should be so proud as to call them our brothers and sisters in arms.”