News: DOL gets to reset combat vehicles from overseas
Story by Valerie Tandoi
ARMY SUPPORT ACTIVITY-DIX, N.J.-- A new Directorate of Logistics maintenance facility is expected to launch this spring. This facility will help the Army Support Activity DOL team to accomplish their mission of supporting mobilization and training by repairing ASA-Dix equipment and Army tactical vehicles.
High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HUMMWV, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, known as HMMT, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are expected to begin wheeling-into the new 27-bay facility next month at ASA-Dix.
ASA-Dix is tasked to maintain and reset these vehicles as well as other equipment supporting the mission in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations worldwide. Ultimately, the new facility will allow the DOL to achieve greater efficiencies and quicker turn-around, saving the Army money and increasing unit readiness by providing fully mission capable equipment in a more timely manner.
As part of their reset mission, the DOL is scheduled to receive a large batch of HMMT as early as September. There could be as many as 200 vehicles in need of repair, Stephen Wachtler, maintenance operations supervisor for the DOL, said. These vehicles will be coming out of Iraq, where they have been Theater Provided Equipment for several rotations.
The Army Material Command, now headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., determines which maintenance support centers receive which vehicles.
"We are awarded our work load by the AMC. They distribute vehicles to the installations best able to support them at the time," Bob Cole, director of DOL said, "Once ASA-Dix is selected as the destination, and the vehicles come into the transportation division building."
The directorate may soon be able to handle an even larger load of vehicles when their new maintenance facility opens. The old DOL maintenance facility dated back to World War II. The new facility is expected to increase efficiency and provide workers with more state of the art equipment.
Purchasing a new HUMMWV or MRAP may seem like a quick and easy solution for replacing war-torn vehicles. However, taking the time to restore old vehicles can save the Army considerable money. A 998 series HUMMWV, a basic model, can cost upwards of $35,000 to purchase new, but on average can cost $16,000 or less to refurbish.
On the other hand, not all the tactical vehicles are worth repairing. Sometimes the damage may just be too grave. Although safety is always of the utmost importance, the team working on these vehicles has two intricate processes they use to determine whether or not vehicles qualify for restoration.
One method is the maintenance expenditure limit. Every vehicle requires an inspection and an estimate of the repair cost. The technicians will compare the estimate to the MEL and see if the repairs are worth it.
"If we come across a vehicle that has an estimate that exceeds the limit, we send this information to higher headquarters who will either give an authorization to go beyond the MEL or tell us to turn it in to Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office," shared Wachtler
The other process involves a check list called the Delayed Desert Damage inspection sheet, call the "Triple D". The Triple D uses a scoring system to assess vehicle safety. If any of the combat support wheeled vehicles has minor damage it gets one score, if it has major damage it gets another score and when there is extreme damage there is a third scoring range. This is the standard for repair used for all equipment returning from the desert.
"These scores are based on things such as the engine, the body and the suspension. If the score exceeds a certain amount, the vehicle is sent to a higher level repair facility for complete rebuild," said Wachtler.
As technology continues to advance, innovative features such as fire suppression systems, navigation systems and electronic communication systems are added on to military vehicles to better assist and protect Soldiers.
"Bullet proof windows are now standard and there are gunner platforms with extra protection," said Brian Leisure, a quality assurance representative for the DOL.
A hardworking team of men and women are responsible for getting these vehicles fixed on time and under budget. ASA-Dix employs a staff of about 35 federal employees and about 110 government contractors. These people are more than just your usual mechanics. Working on military vehicles requires advanced training, especially when dealing with newer vehicles such as the MRAPs.
"The MRAPs contain specialized technology and we send the technicians of these vehicles to MRAP University [in Texarkana, Texas)]for the proper training. Folks need to pass this course to have the skills to repair these," said Cole.
As the DOL awaits the opening of their new facility, they continue to work to improve their processes and vehicle turn around time.
"We do our best to maintain a steady flow. We don't like getting backlogged or empty shopped. Our goal is to have constant work that moves along," Cole said.