KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- When an Airman gets into a government owned vehicle, the assumption is the vehicle will start up with zero issues and be able to help the Airman get from point A to point B. What may not be known is when there’s a flat tire or dead battery, the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) vehicle maintenance shop has the tools and people to help get the vehicle up and running again.
The shop is composed of both military members and contractors, including local nationals, who work on anything from an oil change to engine replacement. The wealth of available knowledge between the Airmen and local nationals helps the shop keep up with the pace of requests, as well as dealing with the challenges of island weather and its effects on vehicles.
“Our biggest obstacle is corrosion,” said Master Sgt. Brian Henry, 18th LRS vehicle management supervisor. “Our job is to keep vehicles safe and serviceable so that the mission can be accomplished.”
The shop has a process called airfield damage repair (ADR) anti-corrosion, or ADR, created to tackle issues of rust and corrosion that come with being in a tropical climate.
The process involves covering parts and taping off surfaces, then spraying anti-corrosion paint. Once the paint has dried, the vehicle is un-taped and cleaned ensuring the coating was applied properly.
“We are specialized and experienced in the job,” said Masakazu Miyazato, 18th LRS body repair technician. “I worked in a similar job before working here and I have been at 18th LRS for 16 years. The experience is helpful in teaching the Airmen what I know, and they are able to teach me as well.”
While the Airmen assigned to the 18th LRS are considered a crucial cog in the machine in helping make sure the fleet runs on all cylinders, the backbone of the shop is often times the local nationals.
“Our local nationals are the key to the shop,” Henry said. “They are the foundation that we build upon because most have been here for 15 to 20 years. That level of experience is invaluable in making sure we complete our mission.”
When it comes to Team Kadena being able to roll out and roll on with their mission, one can thank the crew at the 18th LRS vehicle maintenance shop for making sure the wheels on the bus – or car or truck – can continue to go ‘round and ‘round.