News>Feature - No brakes, no problem: Base shop ensures vehicle reliability
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Joshua Cardwell, 460th Vehicle Maintenance Facility mechanic, siphons out diesel fuel from a utility vehicle Sept. 13, 2012. Cardwell is one of the shop’s three mechanics and sometimes he and others are called out on-site to assist with mechanical problems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Brad Higley, 460th Vehicle Maintenance Facility mechanic, seals a tire Sept. 13, 2012. Higley is one of the three mechanics from the shop responsible for keeping $10.8 million worth of vehicles running smoothly. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Brad Higley, 460th Vehicle Maintenance Facility mechanic, seals a tire Sept. 13, 2012. Between 15 to 20 vehicles on average pass through the shop monthly where three mechanics, Cardwell and two other mechanics, make all the necessary maintenance adjustments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
9/17/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Air Force mission would be almost impossible to accomplish without a vehicle maintenance shop.
Government owned vehicles are used to accomplish many important tasks, such as refueling aircraft, or repairing a fire truck or ambulance to ensure each unit is ready at any minute.
"We manage and maintain all the 460th vehicles on the base to include leased vehicles," said Tech. Sgt. Darrell Wagner, 460th Vehicle Maintenance Facility vehicle fleet manager.
Wagner said his nine-person shop takes care of their 168-vehicle inventory, which ranges from fire trucks, staff cars, dump trucks to tractors all throughout the 460th Space Wing.
Between 15 and 20 vehicles on average pass through the shop monthly where three mechanics make all the necessary maintenance adjustments. According to Wagner, most GOVs on base have a routine 18-month scheduled maintenance plan where they're closely inspected and have a routine oil change along with several other replacements.
Special inspections are required for the bigger vehicles. Fuel filters and wheel bearings are some of the things that need to be replaced. For other large vehicles like forklifts their tines need to be inspected or a crane the hooks also have to be inspected.
According to Joshua Cardwell, one of the three mechanics, one of the most challenging parts of the job is to have a multitude of big vehicles needing maintenance at the same time, especially first responder vehicles or the snow removal trucks during the winter months.
Brad Higley, also a mechanic, said although the task can be overwhelming at times, "making stuff run," is definitely the most rewarding factor of what they do.
Having a central location for all vehicle management, is another plus and is something that isn't so at every installation, said Wagner, most installations have vehicle control officers so the control is spread throughout the base.
"I like the fact there's one centralized location that manages all the vehicles instead all of them being managed by the units themselves," said Wagner.
He said it makes his $10.8 million operation run a whole lot smoother.