BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Maintaining the safety and security of Bagram Air Field requires constant patrolling inside and outside the wire. To meet this requirement, the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron relies on a fleet of armored vehicles to get around the base and patrol the local area.
These vehicles, trusted to protect life and limb, require regular, careful maintenance to perform their mission. That's where vehicle maintainers from the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron come into play.
"The 455th ELRS vehicle maintenance flight plays a critical role in the defense of Bagram Air Field," Maj. William Brohard, 455th ELRS director of operations. "We have dedicated an entire shop and staff to support the up-armored vehicles that patrol both inside and outside the Bagram wire. These special purpose vehicles protect the brave men and women that are protecting us. Our goal is to minimize the shop time and keep them on patrol."
The 455th ELRS vehicle maintainers are trusted with the repair and upkeep of more than 250 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, as well as older up-armored humvee.
"Our job entails making sure the trucks are ready to roll for all their security missions and make sure everything is good to go with no break downs. We help keep everybody safe," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Easterwood, a 455th ELRS vehicle maintenance journeyman from Sundown, Texas.
Over the past six months, Bagram's fleet of tactical vehicles has logged approximately 161,000 hours of driving time, safely transporting Defenders as they protect the base. This kind of mileage keeps the maintainers busy with a variety of tasks.
"When the vehicles come in we check the vehicles to see what is wrong with them. Then they come to the garage and we try to fix everything. We're talking brakes, ball joints, springs, fuel filters, lights, ejection pumps... everything," said Senior Airman Roman Denney, a 455th ELRS vehicle maintenance journeyman from Tampa, Fla.
The team works seven days a week, keeping pace with a steady flow of mundane vehicle repairs as well as critical upgrades which further enhance the safety of Bagram's tactical vehicle fleet.
"Our expectations are extremely high for the Airmen working with the up-armored vehicles," Brohard explained. "A simple malfunction inside the wire can be an inconvenience but could become life threatening for those outside the wire. Our tactical vehicle mechanics must maintain the highest of standards because our base defenders are putting their lives in our hands."
The maintainers take great pride in their work in knowing that their hard work protects the airmen who put their lives on the line while defending of the base.
"We feel great about it, especially knowing that they are going to have a vehicle that, if they get in the hairy situation, will keep them safe and get them back to base," said Easterwood.
For Denney, the greatest job satisfaction comes from knowing that he's helping protect the men and women working on Bagram.