48th VM drives Liberty Wing success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessi Monte
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Liberty Wing is known for its combat airpower but without the 48th Vehicle Management Airmen, flight operations could be impacted. Behind the scenes, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron military and civilian personnel work every day to ensure the readiness, reliability and longevity of the 48th Fighter Wing vehicle fleet.

Master Sgt. Emon Leatham, 48th LRS vehicle fleet manager, said the VM flight is responsible for everything included in the life of a government vehicle from the time of purchase to the end of its serviceable life. They acquire, retire, maintain and repair all of the vehicles that play a pivotal role here.

“A vehicle is a lot like an Airman,” said 2nd Lt. Casey Chase, 48th VM Flight commander. “They have a specific mission they support, they deploy, they go on temporary duty, and they even have permanent change of station. It is the responsibility of Vehicle Management to make sure that happens.”

The main body of the government vehicle compound is composed of several buildings and serves multiple functions including electrical diagnostics, body work and maintenance. There are also two outlying shops, Firetruck Maintenance and Refueling Maintenance.

Leatham identifies some of the main challenges the flight faces. One being the rapid deployment of assets and the need to source parts for a U.S. fleet and a wide variety of different vehicles. The logistics of finding parts, ordering them, tracking them and getting them here in a timely manner can be daunting.

“When we release vehicles from maintenance, the end user might have to place that vehicle on a plane hours later to execute their mission at a deployed location,” said Leatham. “We have to be sure that when we fix something, we do it right the first time to ensure the vehicles do what they were designed to do without failure.”

Fleet management is also responsible for earning vehicle authorizations. They must be validated, funded and their role in the mission must be fully justifiable to keep that vehicle in the fleet. To ensure this each unit needs to be familiar with their exact requirements to properly communicate with fleet management.

“A lot of research is done behind the scenes to ensure we can provide what users need to ensure the success of their mission,” said Leatham. “We have to learn and be familiar with the specific jobs of each unit we serve.”

Effective communication and documentation within the shop is also paramount. Due to shift changes, work load and scheduling, one mechanic may end up working on six or seven different vehicles at a time or starting a task that someone else has to finish.

“Building redundancies into our processes is the difference between a vehicle being down for three weeks or six months,” said Leatham. “We do our best to ensure that all work is documented, all troubleshooting steps are vetted, and part requests are checked and rechecked to make sure we order the right part the first time.”

The Vehicle Management Airmen may not be on the front lines, but they play a key role in the success of the mission and their work affects every aspect of daily operations. They provide the flexibility and manning necessary to contribute to the success of the ever-changing needs of the Liberty Wing.