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86 VRS, Army expedite repairs

Two mechanics kneeling next to a trailer on a forklift.

Eike Hoerske, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron general purpose heavy supervisor, left, directs the placement of a military tactical (M-series) trailer onto axle stands as Alexander Geimer, 86th VRS general purpose heavy mechanic, observes the process at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, June 19, 2020. Hoerske and Geimer coordinated with local nationals who manage the disposition lot on ROB and acquired the parts needed for the repair of an M-series trailer at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

A mechanic working on a brake assembly with a power drill.

Joerg Engel, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron general purpose heavy mechanic, removes the brake assembly from a military tactical (M-series) trailer at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, June, 19, 2020. Engel and other local nationals from General Purpose Heavy, one of the 86th VRS specialty shops, were able to source needed M-series parts from the Army. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

A close-up of hands working on a trailer.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Tepen, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron materiel control supervisor, left, works with U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy D. Misenheimer, 1st Inland Cargo Transportation Company all-wheeled vehicle mechanic, to remove a trailer brake lever assembly at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, June 19, 2020. The 86th VRS has saved time and money by establishing a new partnership with local Army supply to expedite military tactical (M-series) vehicle repairs at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

Two men working on a trailer.

U.S. Army Sgt. Koffi Adjamgba, 5th Quarter Master all-wheeled vehicle mechanic motor sergeant, left, helps U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Tepen, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron materiel control supervisor, remove a trailer brake lever assembly at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, June 19, 2020. Many of the parts needed for military tactical (M-series) vehicle repairs can be sourced from retired Army vehicles at the disposition lot on ROB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

A man placing a brake assembly in a truck bed.

Eike Hoerske, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron general purpose heavy supervisor, places the brake assembly from a military tactical (M-series) trailer into the bed of a truck at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany, June 19, 2020. Mechanics working with the 86th VRS are always present during the acquisition of vehicle parts to perform quality checks and determine whether or not a part is still usable. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

Two mechanics working on a brake assembly.

Alexander Geimer, left, and Joerg Engel, both 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron general purpose heavy mechanics, install a brake assembly on a military tactical (M-series) trailer at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June, 19, 2020. Geimer and Engel worked with the 86th VRS, which addressed vehicle parts supply challenges by establishing a partnership with local Army supply. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

Keeping Team Ramstein’s government vehicles operational is a massive undertaking. When a unit has even one vehicle out of commission, it can put a strain on operations.

The 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron works hard to respond to maintenance needs to get vehicles back on the road as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, however, the automotive parts needed for a repair are not as readily available through standard Air Force sourcing routes.

“It’s (materiel control’s) job to source the parts, whether it’s through a stateside vendor or local vendor,” said Master Sgt. James C. Miller, 86th VRS vehicle management section chief. “Once we run into a bottleneck or an issue where there are delays in getting the parts, we try to get creative and find different avenues.”

Through innovation and resourcefulness, the 86th VRS has saved time and money by establishing a new partnership with local Army supply to expedite military tactical (M-series) vehicle repairs at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Many of the parts needed for M-series vehicle repairs can be sourced from retired Army vehicles at the disposition lot, called Cannibalization (Cann) Point, on Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany.

“Depending on how it was purchased or what condition it’s in, a lot of the time it isn’t appropriate to just throw the item away,” Miller said. “There’s a proper disposition process for it. One thing that we do with vehicles is what’s called a limited technical inspection (LTI).”

The LTI identifies everything that is wrong with a given vehicle before it goes to disposition, letting the next office or entity that handles it know what is and is not salvageable. The vehicle may no longer be operational as a whole, but parts on the vehicle may still be in good condition and fully functional.

In one instance the 86th VRS needed ballistic glass for an armored Humvee door, but due to the model and age of the vehicle, they would have had to buy 40 of them from a vendor to fulfill their need for one.

“That’s a ridiculous cost,” Miller said. “We have no storage for them and we have no need for them. Working through a partnership, we were able to source (one).”

The process of acquiring parts from the disposition lot also includes quality checks before, during and after the automotive component is removed from the vehicle.

“Six months ago when (a vehicle) arrived there, it might have been perfectly fine,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Tepen, 86th VRS materiel control supervisor. “However, because the vehicle might sit for so long – three to six months – our mechanics will definitely be out there looking at everything and whether a part is usable or not.”

The benefits of timely local Army supply options can be seen by 86th VRS customers who have fleets of M-series vehicles, such as the 435th Security Forces Squadron, 1st Combat Communications Squadron and 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

The M-series vehicles can also be important for deployments.

“A good chunk of our M-series are assigned to unit type codes, so they’re part of deployment packages,” said Tech. Sgt. Milen Tapper, 86th VRS fleet management and analysis supervisor. “They need to be ready at all times.”

When presented with a supply challenge that could have affected operations, the 86th VRS provided a partnership solution that not only improved efficiency, but ensured readiness and mission success.