Vehicle management

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Providing the 97th Air Mobility Wing with the vehicles necessary to execute its training mission and maintenance support to all government vehicles and equipment is the mission of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight.

They provide and maintain vehicles that assist with base maintenance, security and aircraft.

"Our vehicles are dump trucks, sweepers, backhoes, loaders, law enforcement sedans, trucks and K-9 vehicles," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Derick Lake, 97th LRS Vehicle Management section chief. "Fire trucks, aircraft deicers, refueling vehicles, stair cases, 60,000 and 25,000 cargo loaders, snow brooms, plows, forklifts and cranes; we do not specialize in just one particular vehicle type," said Lake.

The technicians must be proficient in maintaining about 20 to 30 different vehicles.

"Without vehicles operating correctly, the different squadrons would not be able to provide their services or support base requirements," said Lake. "The shortage of vehicles can lead to flying mission delays and even stoppage."

As the section chief, Lake oversees maintenance operations, ensuring that personnel are employed, trained appropriately and performing the job safely.

"We have a lot of brand new Airmen straight from tech school who are learning the job and are very motivated to succeed; they are fast learners and are willing to tackle whatever comes their way," said Lake. "They developed camaraderie and display a high level of respect for one another. Our NCOs are very experienced and they keep the maintenance process flowing smoothly while at the same time, training and shaping our young mechanics."

Lake enjoys the everyday challenges that come from trying to troubleshoot, pinpoint, and then repair vehicles malfunctions.

"I love having knowledge in a career so important in the daily life of the Air Force. I like the daily interaction with customers, relationship with coworkers, and helping people by answering their questions," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ryan Kleynhans, 97th LRS vehicle management and analysis journeyman. "I get a lot of satisfaction educating people in how vehicle management works and what the procedures are. I have the privilege to educating higher ups on what our shop as a whole does and how we are applicable to the daily duties."

"Like every job it has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I can go home knowing I did my best and that I am working for a bigger cause. I'm glad to be a part of such a great Air Force," said Kleynhans.