LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Quincy Brayton, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, walked onto the flight line to begin his shift under the night sky not knowing the events that would soon unfold.
As three C-130Js landed, maintainers went to recover and turn the aircraft for the next mission. Brayton and his crew performed inspections while numerous aircraft specialists were on the plane performing maintenance.
It was around 2 a.m. when Brayton noticed some unusual activity coming from the power cart that had been providing electricity to the aircraft for about three or four hours.
“The power cart started backfiring,” Brayton said. “I ran up to the flight deck, ensured power was turned off to the aircraft, and ran to the power cart and hit the emergency stop.”
The backfiring caught the attention of several Airmen, including multiple supervisors and quality assurance Airmen, leading them over to investigate. Aerospace ground equipment personnel also came to determine the problem with the power cart they maintain.
“AGE came over to see what was wrong with the cart, which is when we noticed smoke was coming out of it,” Brayton said. “We opened it, and then flames started shooting out of the firewall by the exhaust, so I ran and got the fire bottle.”
Brayton had never encountered a situation like this in the four years he has served in the Air Force. Safety precautions are taken every day by following job guides and inspections, but that night Brayton had to react quickly to prevent excessive damage.
“Putting out the fire not only saved the aircraft, but also the 10 to 12 people working inside and around it” Brayton said.
Brayton did not wait until the fire department arrived – he took it upon himself to react efficiently and use the fire bottle to put out the flames, managing to keep each Airman and the flight line safe in the process.
“I reacted the way I did because those power carts have fuel in them,” Brayton said. “If the fire would have spread, it could have become a much larger issue, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
The 19th AMXS leadership recognized Brayton during one of the production meetings thanking him for responding to the situation the way he did.
“Brayton’s quick thinking and response epitomize the values our aircraft maintainers uphold while working on the flight line,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jordan Bauman, 19th AMXS assistant officer in charge. “As a leader on the flight line, his diligence and action safeguarded tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of Air Force assets, which prevented a loss of critical maintenance time directly affecting mission continuity.”
“We don’t do our job for recognition,” Brayton said. “Some people do their job because they have to, some people do their job because they love it, but for the most part, we do our job to make sure the aircrew are safe and the mission can progress to maintain combat airlift.”