Vehicle Management applies skills to damaged antenna, saves money and mission
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 607th Support Squadron completed satellite testing on an integral base communication system with the help of the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management here April 28.
The two units coordinated resources and efforts to save the Air Force tens of thousands of dollars by applying core skills of vehicle maintainers from one mission to another.
The 607th SPTS identified issues with a Quad-band Large Aperture Antenna, which serves as a backup to Osan's communications. Given initial estimates from the depot which supplied the antenna, the repair costs amounted between $80 and $100 thousand.
Having had some former body shop experience, Tech. Sgt. Middleton, 607th SPTS assistant NCOIC of tactical communications, decided to call VM to see if they could help.
"We had never tried to repair a satellite dish before so it presented a very unique challenge for us," said Airman 1st Class Steven Choi, 51st LRS/LGRVM vehicle and vehicular equipment mechanic. "Although it was different from what we were used to, we were able to adapt to the situation and help PACAF (Pacific Air Forces) continue their mission."
A five-man VM team, composed of Airmen and Republic of Korea civilians, used their skills to repair a total of five petals of the critical antenna. The process included acquiring special substances to fill in the damaged areas, dry out the interior of the petals to ensure no moisture was trapped inside, and repaint the petals to original condition.
"Out of a $100 thousand debt, we only had to pay about $380," said Middleton. "So they (VM) saved us big time - they really did. Hats off to those guys, they bent over backwards for us to even take this project."
The body shop Airmen and civilians not only saved Air Force money, but also saved time. The estimated repair time was between two and three months, while the VM technicians were able to complete the mission requirement in three days.
"Everyone from our CSAF (Chief of Staff of the Air Force) to our squadron commander emphasizes the need to 'do more with less,'" said Choi. "Working with other units to share our capabilities is a way we can reallocate those funds where they are needed most."
The 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management team included: Tech. Sgt. Manolito Ruiz, 51st LRS/LRGVM NCOIC; Airman 1st Class Steven Choi, 51st LRS/LRGVM vehicle and vehicular equipment mechanic; Si Chun Yi, Pyong Chun Chong, and Chu Sung Kim 51st LRS/LRGVM mobile equipment metal mechanics.