MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Changing tires and oil, and replacing alternators and air conditioning units, is what comes to mind when thinking of automobile maintenance. At Moody, this maintenance is completed by multiple sections in vehicle management that work together to keep Moody’s vehicle fleet in tip-top shape.
Whether it’s talking to the customer to find out what the vehicle is doing wrong, determining the cause, ordering the parts or performing the repairs, the Airmen in this shop ensure the job is done right and efficiently so Moody’s mission can continue.
“Planes aren’t going to fly without us fixing the vehicles that fuel them, so we directly impact the mission,” said Keith Sharron, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance craftsman. “Moving people back and forth, food, weapons, ammo, tools- you name it, nothing on this installation is going to move without vehicles.
”We work with every unit on base and across the Air Force,” Sharron added. “We transfer vehicles and accept incoming vehicles from other bases for contingency operations as well.”
With vehicles being so vital to the mission, vehicle management ensures they find the right solution for each problem they encounter as opposed to wasting money on new parts.
“I like to say that you’ve got mechanics and then there’s part changers,” said Sharron. “[Part changers] think they’ve found the problem and throw a part at it. That doesn’t fix it because they haven’t diagnosed the problem. Finding the actual problem is serious, especially when it comes to our critical vehicles like emergency response vehicles and [aircraft support] vehicles.”
While trying to diagnose the right problem could take hours, the days a vehicle would spend in the shop getting unnecessary parts and ultimately coming back for the same issue negatively impacts the mission.
“The increased downtime on vehicles means that somebody somewhere isn’t able to do their job and they can’t complete the mission,” added Sharron. “[To avoid that] we also perform preventative maintenance by checking each vehicle that comes in here, regardless of the problem, to make sure nothing else is wrong.”
In addition to saving time, correctly diagnosing vehicle problems also saves money.
“It saves a lot of money because it reduces repeat maintenance,” said Sharron. “I would rather keep a vehicle in the shop for a month and fix everything correctly the first time, [rather] than fix one little thing, give it back and have it keep coming back every week.”
Another way vehicle management saves money is by working with the material control section to keep their inventory up-to-date and let them know when they need parts.
“We’re responsible for getting all the supplies for vehicle management,” said Lee Jamieson, 23d LRS vehicle management material control manager. “We have a computer program that mechanics request parts through, we keep an eye on it, order and pick up the parts. Then, we process them into the inventory system which helps us track how much money we spend on parts for each vehicle.”
In addition to watching the budget, Jamieson also looks online, utilizes various programs and uses their tax free benefit to their advantage.
“We shop around and make sure we get the best price on stuff,” said Jamieson.
Jamieson added that while saving money is a goal, the main thing is to support the Air Force mission.
“We try to keep an inventory of high demand items that way we can get the vehicle back out to the customers,” said Jamieson. “If we don’t get the items [the mechanics] need, they can’t get the vehicles back out to the customers and they can’t complete their mission. The quicker we get them back out, the quicker we can get bombs on target down range; we’re supporting the overall Air Force mission.”