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Gotta supply to fly

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Melanie Marlow, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron NCO in charge of propulsion supply, smiles for a photo in a maintenance bay May 2, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Marlow serves as the sole liaison from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron, processing more than 80,000 parts annually. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

What has two thumbs and orders more than 80,000 parts a year for the 18th Component Maintenance Squadron?

Staff Sgt. Melanie Marlow, 18th CMS NCO in charge of propulsion supply, has those two thumbs and places those orders as the only Airmen that owns that title. She is “on loan” from the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron to help solve a problem many maintainers were facing.

“I’m the first person to ever hold this position,” Marlow said. “I take care of everything that is ordered, issued and taken in within the propulsion shop and manage the largest bench-stock in the Pacific Air Force.”

Prior to Marlow taking the position, six different sections within the 18th CMS were trying to coordinate all of their orders through different contacts in the 18th LRS. To cut back on the cost of transport and countless man-hours, a logistics professional was needed.

“I manage a $96 million program and order around 82,000 parts in a year,” Marlow said. “It’s a beast, but I really enjoy the experience. I’ve gained a lot of respect while filling this position and have even been able to mend some of the relationships between supply and maintenance that hadn’t been so great.”

The work Marlow has accomplished has not gone unnoticed within the 18th CMS.

“She’s incredibly motivated and self-driven,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Slovensky, 18th CMS NCO in charge of support. “Once we let her know what we need, she gets it done and is, basically, the best thing since sliced bread.”

The position is temporary, though. With Marlow having served in the position for 18 months, she is preparing to rejoin the 18th LRS within a year.

“I’ll be training my replacement soon,” Marlow said. “I’ll receive my permanent change of assignment and am excited to get back. I’m hoping to get some experience in the warehouse this time around.”