News: Troubleshooters Roll: Airmen save big bucks
Story by Airman 1st Class Jensen Stidham
SUMTER, S.C. - In today’s Air Force, finding ways to save money has taken a higher priority than in the past, making one 20th Fighter Wing commanders program more valuable than ever.
Three Airmen from the 20th Maintenance Group, Tech. Sgt. Michael Kelly, Staff SSgt’s Laverne Borst and Scott Williams, all Air Force Repair Enhancement Program technicians have pushed themselves to save the 20th Fighter Wing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The AFREP is designed to take unserviceable parts from around the 20th FW and fix them.
“The first thing we do when someone brings us a part is look in the TO,” said Williams. “That will tell us all the pieces inside-and-out and how it works. If we can’t find the TO, we do our own research on the part.”
For these Airmen, finding a way is the name of the game.
“It’s all about troubleshooting,” said Kelly. “We almost always find a way to fix it. A lot of times we will take pieces off of broken parts that we already have and re-use those pieces to fix another part.”
Though several parts are fixed each week, for this shop, time is money.
“Our goal for each month is to save the 20th Fighter Wing $100,000,” said Kelly. “That means we have to prioritize the work we do. On average, a part takes about four hours from start to finish. We can’t spend eight hours on a $100 part. We have to fix the parts that are mission critical and cost affective before we start the little projects.”
But it’s the little projects that keep these guys constantly entertained.
“My favorite part of this job is getting to work on new things every day,” said Williams “If I can’t figure out how to do something right then and there, I can pick up something else and try to figure out something else. It’s always changing. We do get some of the same types of parts often but we get some different ones every once in a while.”
Unlikely things such as microscopic computer components, a dog tag machine and even a washing machine for a fighter squadrons flight suits have brought into this shop.
“Not every project is easy,” said Borst. “Some parts have taken us several months to figure out.
Though some projects are tough, the three Airmen of the AFREP continue to fix things from all around Shaw AFB, saving more money every day.