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By Airman 1st Class Dylan Maher
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. –
As the summer months dwindle and winter months quickly approach, the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron has begun gearing up their vehicle maintenance flight by implementing the annual Summer Rebuild Program (SRP).
For vehicle maintenance to remain mission capable in preparation for the wind, precipitation and subzero temperatures that reach Ellsworth every winter, 28th LRS conducts the Summer Rebuild program once a year.
“Each vehicle is like my patient, and they all have a lot of checkups when they get turned into the shop,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Tavares, 28th LRS light ground vehicle noncommissioned in charge of special purpose vehicle maintenance. “We work on all base maintenance, flightline assets, and material handling equipment. Without the vehicles here, the base wouldn’t be able to operate up to standard.”
The 28th LRS vehicle maintenance flight impacts all of Ellsworth, providing maintenance and serviceability to light and heavy vehicles, ensuring safe and effective transportation operations for Airmen. The flight manages 538 vehicles, making them the sixth largest fleet within Air Force Global Strike Command. Out of the 538 vehicles, valued at $15.5M, the SRP will service up to 37 snow removal assets, which include deicers, dump trucks, snow brooms, snow blowers, plows, and glycol recovery vehicles.
“In the short term, the Summer Rebuild Program benefits Ellsworth by addressing immediate maintenance needs and improving the overall operational readiness,” said Airman 1st Class Alily Kliewer, 28th LRS light ground vehicle fleet management & analysis technician. “In the long term, it helps extend the lifespan of the vehicles and reduces the risk of major breakdowns, costing repairs in the future.”
The SRP was created to alleviate areas of cost and uncertainty associated with reactive measures and serves as a comprehensive, preventative measure for 28th LRS and the welfare of Ellsworth.
“During the winter months, the flightline can’t stay open without snow removal equipment, and pilots can’t get out to their aircraft safely without ground transportation vehicles,” said Tavares. “The Summer Rebuild Program is primarily to inspect vehicles prior to the next snow season and perform any required maintenance to get them back to manufacturer specifications.”
To make the process streamlined and measurable, the SRP is broken down into three phases.
“In phase one, we identify faults and discrepancies with the vehicles then order the parts to make those repairs,” said Tavares. “During phase two, we start to recall the vehicles to begin maintenance and repairs and all the schedules that are required. The last phase is the final inspection of the vehicles before they are returned to the units.”
Each iteration of the SRP spans between four to six months. The timeframe from cradle to grave varies due to internal factors, yet 28th LRS has learned from previous experience that when it comes to vehicle maintenance, being proactive is the best policy.
“Being proactive eliminates any problems that can occur. Being reactive can cause issues that may take time to fix and lead to setbacks,” said Kliewer. “By staying focused, working together, and being resilient, the team can successfully navigate the challenges and complete the Summer Rebuild Program with success.”