VRS keeps responders rolling

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tameara Lupfer-Hamilton
  • 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron
When you call an emergency number, such as 112 here in Germany, how would you feel if they told you to call back later due to first responder vehicles, such as police cars and ambulances, not being serviceable? Fortunately, there is a robust process in place to make sure that does not happen. Here in the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron's general purpose light shop, it is our job to maintain a 1,033-vehicle general purpose fleet with only 34 military and civilian technicians.

Out of more than 1,000 GPL vehicles, 38 are critical first responder vehicles belonging to the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base and the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron on Kapaun Air Station. Eight ambulances and 29 police cars comprise our priority workload, which our customers put to use on a daily basis. These vehicles deal with emergencies both on and off base and cover 1,100 square miles to help and protect 57,000 Department of Defense personnel within the KMC. With these vehicles being the priority within our maintenance cycle, we do our best to get them back to their respective squadron in a timely manner with the best quality work possible. There are three primary inspections and services, which we provide to all our vehicle assets - limited technical inspections, preventative maintenance inspections and scheduled lube, oil and filter.

During these services, we conduct numerous checks to ensure the vehicles are safe and reliable. When we initially receive a vehicle, we perform an acceptance LTI before we give the vehicle to its respective squadron. It is much like your first doctors visit. However, instead of checking your blood pressure and reflexes, we check the vehicle's mileage, lights and fluids. During the LTI, the vehicle is thoroughly checked to ensure all of the components are working properly, and there are no manufacturer flaws. We also take note of what the vehicle is equipped with so that when it comes in for a yearly inspection or periodic maintenance, we are able to ensure all of the components are intact and still functioning correctly.

The next type of inspection is a preventative maintenance inspection, which is performed at least annually and at every time a vehicle is turned in for maintenance. During this inspection, we check that all functions are still working properly to make sure the vehicle operates within its performance parameters. We also inspect everything from the engine to the upholstery, mirrors, paint and lights for damage or misuse.

A SLOF is completed on an 18-month cycle or when mileage dictates. This is a more in-depth service that usually includes a change of fluid and filters, as well as lubricating all moving components underneath the vehicle. Careful attention to detail is necessary to ensure manufacturer requirements and Air Force Instruction guidance are met.

These critical vehicles respond to a wide variety of emergencies both on and off base and are important assets to our U.S. Air Forces in Europe mission. By the nature of the job, these vehicles are put into circumstances where additional wear and tear is a common occurrence. The GPL shop uses all resources available, to include local parts procurement, contract repair, and extended duty days to quickly return these vehicles to their organizations.

By the 86th VRS keeping our standards high and our quality of work even higher, these vehicles are able to perform their mission on a daily basis and help the KMC safe and well protected. We strive to have excellence in all we do to keep the mission on track and more than 57,000 DOD personnel safe. Rest assured, the next time you need to call 112 for an emergency, by knowing we have done our job, the police or ambulance you need will be there to help you as quickly as possible.