JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash --
From all-terrain vehicles to snow plows, Airmen from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight work on and are responsible for maintaining all government vehicles assigned to McChord Field.
“We accomplish anything from scheduled maintenance, such as an oil change, to rebuilding an engine,” said Master Sgt. Seung Chong, 627th LRS vehicle management superintendent. “If there was no vehicle maintenance, there would be no one to take care of the assets used to support the flightline.”
A small flight of less than 50 Airmen, the vehicle management flight is responsible for maintaining 350 Air Force and Army vehicles assigned to the installation.
“We provide support to every organization that uses vehicles to get the mission accomplished,” said Chong. “We always want to stay above the mission-essential level of operational vehicles.”
The flight is responsible for performing monthly scheduled maintenance on 15-to-20 vehicles and five-to-10 vehicles with unscheduled maintenance, said Chong. Vehicles include de-icers, ATVs, snow plows, Humvees, and various personnel transport and service vehicles.
“You’ve got to be able to think outside of the box,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Brown, 627th LRS vehicle maintenance technician. “You have to have a mindset to think about different things that could cause a problem.”
Vehicle maintenance technicians go through a basic maintenance course after completing Air Force Basic Military Training. After completing technical training, they start work at assigned duty stations where they begin hands-on training.
“On-the-job training is where you get most of your experience,” said Brown. “We learn skills of troubleshooting on the job. Just making sure that technical orders are followed and using tools for what they are meant for is really important.”
Vehicle maintenance technicians learn how to work on gasoline, diesel and electric-powered vehicles. They learn how to perform maintenance on various systems, including air conditioning, fuel, electrical and hydraulics.
“I don't want to put Airmen in an unsafe vehicle,” said Brown. “It's my responsibility to make sure the vehicles are safe and operational.”
Vehicle maintenance technicians inspect, troubleshoot and repair vehicles. They also schedule and coordinate long-range vehicle maintenance throughout the year.
“When a vehicle is broken and comes in, I verify the problem, order parts, fix whatever is wrong with it and send it out,” said Brown. “Teamwork is essential to do what we do.”
Because maintenance between vehicles can vary significantly, vehicle maintenance is a team effort, said Brown.
“I think it's easy to not realize how complicated and complex a problem can be,” said Brown. “When you get stuck, it's always good to have a fresh set of eyes.”
From providing security on the flightline, to responding to a fire or refueling an aircraft, government vehicles are essential to accomplishing the mission, said Brown.
“This is a very important component of the Air Force mission all around,” said Brown. “If a mission-essential vehicle is broken, we do whatever we have to do to fix it.”