It was a late Friday night and the squadron had already broken down to a skeleton crew. While waiting for the fuel skid operator to arrive, one of the team members found a large metal object resting on the ground in the fueling pit. Having no idea what it was or where it might have come from, he reported it to the Leading Petty Officer (LPO). The LPO took the object to Quality Assurance (QA) for it to be investigated Monday morning.
When the squadron was back at work on Monday, a second class Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) in charge of analyzing the daily FOD was extremely puzzled about the metal piece. He noticed a part number etched on the top of the object and cross-referenced the numbers against the Support Equipment (SE) publications that the squadron used. He determined that the object was not from any of the SE. It bothered him that he was unable to identify the part, so he decided to try web-searching the part number. Bingo! He got a hit. A company that makes truck suspensions came up as the manufacturer of the part. His thorough investigation discovered that the fueling trucks fit the profile for the specifications provided on the website. Realizing the potential for a catastrophe, he immediately notified the fuel farm and cautioned them to thoroughly inspect their truck suspensions. Inspection of the fleet of trucks uncovered the culprit which was immediately removed from service for repair.
A fully loaded fuel truck travelling at 50 mph having a suspension failure would be nothing short of disastrous. With ingenuity, persistence and genuine concern, a second class petty officer helped to prevent a mishap, ensuring the safety of personnel and equipment.
By AD1 Travis Wierenga
AD1Wierenga is with VFA-151