Keeping the fleet rolling
By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 23, 2012
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
All across base and around the flightline, Bearcats, Humvees, and patrol cars are constantly working to keep Whiteman's assets and community safe.
More specifically, the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance unit keeps these vital vehicles up and on the job.
"We perform all the basic scheduled maintenance for the vehicles," said Milton Swainston, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle fleet manager. "We also conduct all major maintenance too, which includes transmission overhauls, engine overhauls and power train overhauls."
Swainston said that only about 30 percent of the workload is performing scheduled maintenance, with major repair issues taking up the most time.
"Depending on the vehicle, scheduled maintenance can take as short as an hour or so, but larger vehicles can take up to four hours," Swainston said. "Major maintenance can take days or weeks, depending on how severe the damage is or the type of vehicle."
Overall, the vehicle maintenance shop handles nearly all maintenance required here on base.
"We have a body shop to work on government vehicles," added Swainston. "Along with the body shop, we can also repaint vehicles that require it."
With a total force team of nearly 70 Airmen and civilians, the vehicle maintenance shop works on approximately 45 different categories of vehicles.
"We fix anything motorized," said Swainston. "We work on anything from large fire trucks, refuelers and snow-removal vehicles, to forklifts and lawn mowers."
In total the shop performs maintenance on approximately 50 vehicles a week, with each vehicle's needs being different.
"It can be tough and extremely busy sometimes," said Swainston. "But we have a great, motivated shop that exceeds expectations and successfully completes their mission."
Along with vehicles from the 509th Bomb Wing, the vehicles maintenance shop also handles the vehicle fleet for the 442nd Fighter Wing, and has begun integrating the 131st Bomb Wing vehicles and work force into daily operations.
"We are currently bringing their vehicles into our shop and are slowly integrating both [509th and 131st] work forces together to complete the overall mission," said Swainston.
According to Airman 1st Class Kimberly Wigget, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance mechanic, training on a variety of vehicles ensures the team is able to accomplish their mission.
"Our job is important because it allows squadrons who use vehicles consistently for their mission to successfully do their job," said Wigget. "Keeping these vehicles running effectively is not an easy task, but it's what the 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance mechanics do successfully on a daily basis."