The Air Force has tens of thousands of pieces of equipment in its inventory. Coming across broken components is inevitable.
The Air Force Repair Enhancement Program specializes in the repair of broken equipment for future reutilization.
The innovative program began at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in 1992 and kept the tradition of fixing small while saving big.
Airmen assigned to maintenance units across the base are selected to be part of the elite group as a result of their hard work followed by an interview with the shop.
“Leadership will look at you and they’ll see where you are now to where you were when you first got here,” said Master Sgt. Sevag Ekmekjian, 355th Maintenance Group AFREP manager. “They’ll see that you have the passion to fix something and not just put your hands up and say, ‘Well, I tried.’
You’ve got to love to tinker. You have to love to take something apart, try to figure out how to fix it, and put it back together.”
AFREP saved D-M approximately $2 million by repairing 499 of the 523 parts screened during the fiscal year of 2015.
“We live in a ‘throw-it-away’ society,” said Todd Zickel, 355th MXG AFREP supply manager. “AFREP tries not to throw stuff away.”
Additionally in 2015, the technicians repaired 27 mission capable parts of aircraft.
Mission capable parts are essential to the flight of an aircraft. There are systems that the aircraft can still fly without, but they cannot fly without MICAPS, Ekmekjian said.
The repair enhancement process begins when the group receives a part or system that stops functioning at its best. After the repair and before the equipment is reutilized, the technician runs an operational check to ensure it is functioning properly.
The money saved from AFREP is recirculated back into the installation via the purchase of items that range from traffic lights to aerospace ground equipment. The savings has even gone toward utility bill payments. The most recent avoidance funds from AFREP were used to acquire new sun shades for the flight line and also covered 100 percent of the cost of the newly-renovated Haeffner Fitness and Sports Center’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
The impact that the technicians leave on D-M can be seen throughout the installation, letting their hard work speak for itself.
“We do more than just aircraft related fixes,” Ekmekjian said. “We’ve fixed all-terrain vehicles for security forces so they can do their patrols, we repaired most of the metal detectors used during the air show, and we’ve fixed the X-ray machine used for deployers and passengers.”
The staff over at AFREP encourages all units to consider them first if they have equipment in need of repair. For more information, please call 228-2411.