Done right: Kadena LRS Quality Assurance ensures mission success
By Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 24, 2016
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron Quality Assurance team oversees five units across Kadena and plays a vital role in each.
Members of the 18th LRS QA team put every effort into ensuring their squadron’s products are always mission-ready.
“Quality Assurance is like a checks-and-balances system,” said Tech. Sgt. Kyle Gamm, 18th LRS quality assurance evaluator. “We make sure the flights are running properly. If they’re not, we identify any problems and use them as a training tool so they can efficiently run the mission.”
These support operations cannot be accomplished without logistics so it’s critical to the mission all aspects of the job are being performed properly.
“Within this QA office, we have representatives for vehicle maintenance, fuels, vehicle ops, Travel Management Office, and supply/material management,” said Tech. Sgt. Larrance Ritter, 18th LRS quality assurance evaluator.
Having all of these units under their influence means the LRS QA office conducts multiple inspections every day.
“We have a lot of inspections,” Ritter said. “We’ll have Pacific Air Forces Inspector General inspectors come here, or our respective functional managers will come and inspect sections. Our perspective is to catch it now and fix it at our level.”
In order to identify what problems exist and how to fix them, QA evaluators use regulations, which can come from PACAF, when performing their work.
“It’s not just reading a regulation, it’s actually learning to interpret it,” Gamm said. “Different words in different sentences could totally change the way it’s read.”
These regulations are constantly updated and contain supplements the evaluators often use when performing inspections.
“We’re not going down to the flights looking for something to write-up,” Ritter said. “Our job is to identify if there’s something that needs fixed. It’s better to fix it in-house versus someone outside coming in and telling us that we’re doing it wrong.”
The 18th LRS QA office as a whole completes at least 120 inspections per month. They not only do inspections, but they also do personal evaluations to ensure Airmen are correctly performing tasks.
“We don’t want the flight to get a surprise call,” Ritter said. “We’ll announce ourselves in the section, let them know what we’re looking at, do our job, and then on our way out we’ll back-brief them.”
QA’s purpose is to ensure that processes are performed correctly so the mission can be carried out.
“If a process isn’t getting done correctly or somebody is taking shortcuts and it’s not identified, ultimately, it could end up in mission failure,” Gamm said. “Somebody could get hurt. We try to make sure they have the best information to do their mission.”