Largest vehicle repair flight in Air Combat Command services more than 100 makes and models

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Travis Edwards
  • Nellis Public Affairs
What does it mean to be the biggest and the best vehicle maintenance flight in Air Combat Command?

It means servicing a fleet of more than 1,300 motor vehicles with more than 100 different makes and models.

The 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance Flight is made up of 131 Airmen revved up and raring to diagnose and fix any mechanical or electrical problem possible in their armada of vehicles.

As with most career fields in the Air Force the VMF has their share of manning challenges and cuts due to the new, more efficient Air Force of today.

"Because of the AFSO21 initiatives, we've been able to find new ways to save money," said Honolito "Hoey" Directo, Vehicle Maintenance flight chief. "Instead of buying replacements for broken or worn-down parts, we salvage the old parts that are still usable and utilize them instead. That enabling us to save the AF about $95,000 a year."

The VMF is also looking into cutting costs by employing more fuel-efficient vehicles for use.

"Now, instead of us giving out a quarter-ton pickup that uses 20 to 25 miles per gallon to someone that may need it, we can asses what they will be using it for and give them a 'Gator' (essentially a military golf cart with a small bed on the back) that gets about 40 mpg," Mr. Directo said. "But that is not until later in the future."

Mr. Directo pointed out that his shop is able to do all this, even though more than a quarter of his work force is deployed at any given time.

VMF has about 35 percent of their assets deployed in support of the missions overseas, leaving about 85 men and women working on Nellis and Creech vehicles.

"That is a big feat for us," he said, talking about their deployments. "Having 40 or so Airmen deployed and still maintaining the largest vehicle fleet in ACC -- on time; that says something about our Airmen here."

Whether they are fixing cars or diagnosing a problem, the VMF pride themselves on great workmanship.

"We can fix just about anything," said Airman 1st Class Jay Cason, a vehicle maintenance technician.

Airman Cason has been at Nellis for just more than nine months and said he loves working here.

"Although it is a bit harder than I had originally expected, I'm now getting used to the high-pace of Nellis," he said "Plus, now I can fix my own vehicle when something goes wrong and won't have to worry about a mechanic trying to rip me off."

From turning wrenches in a Dodge Stratus engine, to pulling off an Osh Kosh fire truck transmission to troubleshoot a "knocking sound," these Airmen can sit high and know, without them, the wheels of Nellis and Creech wouldn't turn.