Keeping vehicles in motion

By Airman Helena B. Owens Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

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From firetrucks to aircraft cargo loaders, managing diesel vehicles requires a breadth of knowledge Airmen from the Logistics Readiness Squadron in the Vehicle Management shop demonstrate daily.

Vehicle Management Airmen ensure all diesel vehicles required to maintain normal operations are repaired, maintained and serviced when necessary. Airmen also provide routine maintenance on all diesel fueled vehicles to include oil changes, tire rotations, paint and exterior body work.

“We update all vehicles on interior and exterior work to ensure the vehicle lasts longer than normal,” said Senior Airman John Hipple, 628th LRS, mission generation vehicular equipment maintenance journeyman. “When a vehicle comes in for maintenance and we notice additional work needs to be done, we fix it then. We have a budget of about $75,000 to spend on parts every month to keep our vehicles operating properly.”

LRS consists of different sections including Material Control, Fleet Management and Analysis, Main Shop, Material Handling Equipment and Firetruck and Refueling Maintenance. Each shop is in charge of different functions, but they all help keep vehicle operations running efficiently. Vehicles running efficiently are essential to Joint Base Charleston’s flying mission of keeping aircraft in the air. The vehicles that help service the aircraft, transport items to and from the flight line and the refueling trucks are all maintained and repaired by Airmen in LRS.

“We focus on keeping the planes flying,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hewitt, 628th LRS NCO in charge of Material Control. “To do this we have to keep our vehicles operating safely and efficiently. If we drop below a certain number of vehicles, the planes won’t be able to fly.”

Maintenance is part of keeping vehicles operations running. However another aspect includes ordering and delivering parts to the proper shop, keeping track of what parts have been or need to be ordered and maintaining the budget.

“Updating the bank account is a high priority after ordering parts,” said Hipple. “I make sure to keep track of the money I am spending so when it comes time for bills they can be paid quickly.”

Servicing hundreds of vehicles throughout the year, Vehicle Management Airmen ensure all vehicles are operational for mission readiness.

“We try to get emergency vehicles and flight line vehicles out fast,” said Hipple. “They are high priority. The quicker we get them back on the road, the smoother the mission will flow. Without us here to fix the vehicles, our planes won’t be flying.”


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