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Vehicle maintenance keeps base’s wheels turning

By Senior Airman Sarah Kusek 2d Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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Overseeing and maintaining a vehicle fleet worth more than $45 million is no menial task, but for one flight here, it's business as usual.

The 2d Logistics Readiness Squadron's vehicle management flight has 78 Airmen and civilians split up into three separate functions: the main shop, where technicians deal with specialized equipment, such as cranes and forklifts as well as general purpose equipment like shuttle busses, pickups and vans; the body shop, where damaged vehicles are repaired and repainted, and a refuel and fire truck maintenance shop where 10 fire truck and 28 refueling vehicles are serviced.

In addition to repairing Barksdale's fleet, the flight is also in charge of replacing older, higher mileage vehicles.

"When a vehicle has reached a point when it has exceeded its life expectancy in years or mileage, a condition report is sent to ACC for distribution instructions," said Master Sgt. Ketrick Duncan, vehicle management flight superintendent. "This occurs only in cases of specialized vehicles such as fire trucks, base maintenance equipment or aircraft cargo loaders."

Last year, Barksdale was given $2.7 million to purchase about 70 new vehicles. However, the number of vehicles purchased varies from year to year based on funding, and has averaged 40 assets in the recent past recent excluding last year.

"We're a one-stop shop for all-things vehicles," said Staff Sgt. Robert Calhoun, vehicle maintenance analysis journeyman. "The flight keeps the wheels going on base. If we didn't exist, key personnel and aircraft wouldn't get where they needed to be. We maintain everything from sedans to maintenance trucks to specialized vehicles that tow aircraft."

Sergeant Calhoun said the flight is responsible for maintaining 127 different makes and models of government vehicles on base from "hood-to-wheels and everything in between." The vehicles vary from squadron to squadron, and range from bucket loaders, bulldozers and sewer trucks to weapons trailers and ambulances.

The flight is solely responsible for the upkeep, repair and parts purchasing of the 790 government vehicles, the third largest fleet in Air Combat Command, and they take great pride in what they do.

"Right now, we're functioning at a 90.5 percent vehicle in commission rate, exceeding the ACC goal," Sergeant Duncan said.

To keep the vehicle fleet within the VIC rate, each vehicle must pass a 110-point inspection whenever it comes to the shop for scheduled maintenance, and the Airmen repairing them have to consistently produce high-quality work.

"We try to instill into our people a sense of patriotic and professional pride in managing and repairing vehicles," Sergeant Duncan explained. "We make a special effort in ensuring they know they're key to ensuring Barksdale is successful in meeting its flying mission."