When a government vehicle is damaged by negligence or an accident, it can sit in the 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron parking lot from five days to five months until funds become available for repairs.
The accident/abuse program is used to track and estimate repair costs for all Air Force registered vehicles at Luke Air Force Base. All repairs are paid for by the vehicles’ respective units after an investigation has been conducted and an estimate is made.
“All vehicles needing repairs must go to the vehicle maintenance flight to be assessed,” said Master Sgt. Michael Ginez, 56th LRS vehicle maintenance superintendent. “If damages to the vehicle are minor they are repaired on base, but if the accident is an extensive one and it exceeds our capabilities, then it will be transported off base to a local body shop for repairs.”
If a vehicle has severe damage, Ginez determines if it’s economically sound to repair it or salvage it. A technician uses a technical inspection form to determine what repairs are needed, the cost of parts and the time it will take to make the repairs.
“The superintendent sends his decision to headquarters for approval,” said Tom Mullen, 56th LRS vehicle maintenance foreman. “Headquarters has a wider scope of the entire vehicle fleet and each vehicle’s condition, therefore sometimes they’ll instruct us to repair a vehicle that doesn’t seem economical to do so.”
However, if it’s determined that a vehicle should not be repaired the unit will not receive a replacement vehicle. Ultimately, the unit will have one less vehicle and be one step closer to the mission essential level, which is the minimum number of vehicles needed to carry out the mission.
Mullen said with the lack of funding at Luke AFB, most vehicle repairs have been delayed. If a unit gets into more than one accident, and doesn’t have the funds to repair them, it will start to affect the units’ MEL.
When a section within the unit falls below the MEL because of accidents, the vehicle control officer will pull vehicles from another section under their control. When the entire unit falls below the MEL, vehicle maintenance will then intervene and pull vehicles from other units.
“One section’s actions will impact other units’ MELs and can begin a snowball effect across the entire wing,” Ginez said. “Airmen need to make sure they are following all safety protocols so we can get the mission done quickly and efficiently.”