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Multipurpose vehicle maintenance: Shop keeps mission running like well-oiled machine

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Senior Airman Vincent Garcia, 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, replaces a cover in the engine compartment of a front-end loader during a safety inspection on May 23, 2007.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Senior Airman Vincent Garcia, 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, replaces a cover in the engine compartment of a front-end loader during a safety inspection on May 23, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Senior Airman Christian Delgado, assigned to the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's multi-purpose vehicle maintenance shop completes a final inspection of the hydraulic system on a snow mobile engine on May 23, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Senior Airman Christian Delgado, assigned to the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's multi-purpose vehicle maintenance shop completes a final inspection of the hydraulic system on a snow mobile engine on May 23, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Jimmy Hahn removes the side panels on an aircraft tow tractor on May 23, 2007 prior to inserting weights used to balance the vehicle while in operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Jimmy Hahn removes the side panels on an aircraft tow tractor on May 23, 2007 prior to inserting weights used to balance the vehicle while in operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)

Airman Alan Yount, 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, load tests the charging system on a bobtail during a quality control inspection at the customer service shop on Wednesday May 23, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)(Released)

Airman Alan Yount, 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, load tests the charging system on a bobtail during a quality control inspection at the customer service shop on Wednesday May 23, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Abner Guzman)(Released)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- As the spring winds down and summer starts to creep in, winter is the last thing on anyone's mind.

That is, unless you are part of the staff of the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron's multipurpose vehicle maintenance section.

Whether Airmen in the shop are working on a deicing truck that clears the ice off the wings of each C-17 Globemaster III or tuning up a tow tractor that pulls each aircraft across the flightline, they're performing a role in the mission that is easily overlooked.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time when things are going smoothly, nobody really thinks about us," said Jimmy Hahn, 62nd LRS, who's been working in the shop for nearly 22 years.

The 12-person staff composed of Airmen and civilians is in the midst of the detailed process of examining the engine compartments, differentials, transmissions and chassis of the base's deicing trucks as part of the shop's summer rebuilding program.

The staff carefully inspects the belts, hoses, electrical systems and anything else that needs to be replaced or rebuilt on the support equipment that performs many key jobs during the winter months.

"It's a matter of doing the preventative maintenance so once winter comes along, we'll have no problems," said Tech. Sgt. Darryll Daum, 62nd LRS.

Besides handling the preventative maintenance aspect for the base's support equipment, the shop also comes to the rescue in emergency maintenance situations. 

As soon as one of the base's aerial-work platform trucks gets stuck in the air, the shop is thrust into the limelight to fix the problem, Mr. Hahn said.

"It's all about keeping the mission going," he said.

The shop also works on the base's cranes, dump trucks, bulldozers and even the latrine service trucks.

That includes doing nearly all of the troubleshooting, parts ordering and repairs.

"Whether it's pneumatics or electronics, we love to get dirty," Sergeant Daum said.

And though the look of the shop has changed in recent years due to the fact it no longer works on general service vehicles such as cars, trucks and buses, the Airmen there still get plenty of opportunities to put their personal touch on the mission.

There is a high level of excitement for jobs like preparing support equipment that is headed to deployed locations, Mr. Hahn said.

"We feel like we really have a purpose when we get the chance to send stuff overseas," he said.

And if things are going smoothly in the desert, the feeling of purpose is something the multipurpose vehicle section can hang its hat on.

So much for being easily overlooked.