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News | March 27, 2017

Maintaining the wheels on the ground

By Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

From forklifts to fuel trucks, it takes all kinds of vehicles to ensure Team Osan is ready to fight tonight.

If one of those vehicles breaks or malfunctions, the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance professionals get that asset back in the field and the fight.

“If we aren’t able to get the tow tractors and the de-icers out there, the planes aren’t flying,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Monasmith, 51st LRS Customer Service Center NCO in charge. “We fix the loaders, firetrucks and fuel trucks; basically, everything we touch has something to do with the mission. If we’re not here, the mission suffers.”

With just over 100 members, Vehicle Maintenance cares for approximately 1,300 vehicles, providing everything from oil changes to engine rebuilds.

When a customer brings in a vehicle, they are first greeted by members of the Customer Service Center, who will do an initial assessment. If there is a minor issue, this section can repair it immediately and have the customer out the door in a few minutes.

“We have eyes on every vehicle and know most of the problems each vehicle is experiencing,” said Senior Airman Dion Edwards, 51st LRS Vehicle Maintenance journeyman. “If we can fix it really fast on the spot we do, but if we can’t we write it up, give it a quality check and send it to the other mechanics.”

If a vehicle has a more serious issue that can’t be solved during the initial assessment, it is handed off to one of the specialty sections such as general purpose, special purpose or allied trades. From there, depending on the vehicle type and repairs needed, repairs could take a few days.

Behind the scenes, almost 70 Airmen and 40 civilians work together to provide each vehicle a quality repair as quickly as possible. While the civilians only make up one-third of the shop, they bring a wealth of knowledge and are a vital resource to Team Osan.

“We intermingle with the civilians a lot, especially when we have questions,” said Senior Airman Dillon Goulet, 51st LRS Vehicle Maintenance technician. “They are very knowledgeable with the vehicles here, because they’ve been here for a long time.”

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Osan Air Base website.