In heated Oct. 2 correspondence, Grassley asked Wilson about a Fox News report that found a squadron at California’s Travis Air Force Base had spent $56,000 on the metal mugs in recent years.
Unfortunately, the cups appear to be as breakable as ordinary mugs. In a more recent story, the Air Force Times is reporting that the cups — which plug into outlets on cargo planes to reheat liquids such as water or coffee — have a “faulty plastic handle that easily breaks when the cups are dropped.”
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“And because replacement parts for the cup are no longer made, the Air Force has had to order a whole new cup when the handle breaks,” the Air Force Times said.
The water heaters are used on 59 KC-10s, 52 C-5s, and 222 C-17s, Wilson said, according to the Times. But with planes aging, and the average KC-10 at 34 years old, it’s harder and harder to find replacement parts for those aircraft, she said.