News: 379th ELRS airmen move the mission
Story by Master Sgt. David Miller
Vehicles, and the airmen that maintain them, are critical to transportation of service members, supplies, fuel, munitions and aircraft to meet mission objectives here and throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
"We are a part of everyone’s mission, without our support, cargo doesn’t get loaded, pax don’t get to a plane and aircraft don’t get off the ground,” said Master Sgt. Brian Howard, the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management superintendent deployed from Moody AFB, Ga., and a Murfreesboro, Tn., native.
Vehicle management has more than 77 airmen assigned on six-month rotations. This crew handles an average of 500 work orders a month, with 4,830 repair actions totaling nearly 5,100 hours on the job while maintaining a 91.2 percent mission capable rate, i.e. in working order, for the entire fleet.
Whether vehicles come in for scheduled maintenance, or they are seen when there is an issue, the vehicle is repaired to the manufacturer’s specifications.
"The typical maintenance we handle here includes everything from the mobile calls on flight line type vehicles to top-to-bottom repairs. We rebuild engines, repair hydraulics systems, steering, brakes and any system on the vehicle to make it safe and serviceable," said Howard.
All of the vehicles that come in for repair are first seen by the Vehicle Management and Analysis team.
Vehicle Management and Analysis ensures the efficient and economical operation and maintenance of the base vehicle fleet. It is also the focal point for determining repairs, vehicle and equipment movement, and oversees maintenance data integrity, said Tech. Sgt. Miriam Pestilos, 379th ELRS fleet management NCO in charge, deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho and a Miami, native.
Here the VM&A section is broken down into three components; Fleet Management, Lease Management and Control Board.
“Fleet management is responsible for managing and accounting for the base vehicle fleet. We oversee vehicle life expectancies, economical vehicle repairs and track each asset from "cradle to grave,” Pestilos said.
The control board section is a key section where workload controllers are in charge of processing mobile maintenance calls, monitor workload and work flow throughout the work centers and open and close work orders.
“This section assigns work priority and notifies the fleet manager or superintendent when units fall below their mission essential levels, so appropriate action can be taken to replenish asset shortages for mission critical requirements,” Pestilos said.
The whole VM&A element is responsible for analyzing maintenance indicators, developing a preventive maintenance program that incorporates special inspections, as well as adhering to manufacturer service bulletins and Air Force time compliance technical orders and establishing a vehicle control program for the installation.
"The Lease Management office is the focal point for the bases $5.5M leased vehicle contracts," said Tech. Sgt. John Hoffman, the 379th ELRS lease vehicle management NCO in charge deployed from Joint Base Andrews, Md., and hails from Westminster, Colo. "We accomplish routine/non-routine maintenance, acquisition, accident repair and traffic violation resolution. Also, our office manages the vehicle control program, which empowers an individual or two from each unit to manage and distribute that particular unit’s assigned vehicles.”
“During this rotation we went to a team concept that will assign members to a certain type of vehicle such as Humvees, buses, general purpose, Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance, and special purpose vehicles. The team concept is working great, we are seeing a mission capable rate increase of 35 percent and that is outstanding!” said Howard.
“We get Airmen on their first deployment with no experience on some of the vehicles we have here,” said Chief Master Sgt. Prather, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight chief deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., and a Lake Charles, La., native. “We put them on a team to build on skills they have and get them a broader perspective and gain experience from more
Working with the variety and amount of vehicles here can be a daunting task and for these airmen safety is critical.
“Safety is a big concern for the airmen working on these vehicles day in and day out,” Prather said.
When a vehicle comes in it is inspected not only for the issue being addressed but for additional safety concerns, and when the repairs are complete, it is inspected again to ensure it will safely perform for the end user.
“The end user will have a safe vehicle,” said Prather. “The Airmen are working at 100% all day, every day.”
"Trusting Airmen to make the mission happen is key.”