Story by A1C Bailee Darbasie on 03/01/2019Searching through a pile of unserviceable components waiting their inevitable fate, expert Airmen rescue multiple high-value items to repair at no cost to the Air Force.
The 57th Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement (AFREP), consisting of only five Airmen, is directly responsible for saving the Air Force $3.6 million in fiscal year 2018 by restoring approximately 550 parts, which includes radios, control panels and navigation lights for F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.
Recognized as the top AFREP in Air Combat Command, the 57th MXG AFREP stands out among the rest due to Nellis' high mission capability rate and large variety of aircraft, including older jets with parts no longer being produced.
"Our mission is to save as many components as possible," said Tech. Sgt. Dustin Burgess, 57th MXG AFREP program manager. "It's important for us to do what we can, so the jets can get back in the air and complete their missions."
The small group of Airmen assigned to the 57th MXG AFREP have 180 days to completely fix a broken item; however, they usually do it in a fraction of that time and with no cost.
"The repair cost of every component we save is paid back to Nellis by the Air Force," said Burgess. "The money that would be spent on repairs is placed into the wing's AFREP account and put toward morale projects on base."
With the money saved, the wing commander purchases items to improve work conditions for Nellis' Airmen. Sun shades for the 99th Security Forces Squadron gate guards and 57th Maintenance Group aircraft maintainers, new coveralls for aircraft maintainers and air conditioning in the expediter trucks along the flightline are several of the major projects funded by AFREP savings.
"The morale projects motivate me to work harder," said Staff Sgt. Robert Evans, 57th MXG AFREP technician. "Knowing that my work directly impacts the Nellis mission and improves morale across the base makes me extremely proud to be a part of this AFREP team."
The 57th MXG AFREP Airmen dedicate themselves to restoring parts, morale and millions for Nellis on a daily basis.
"When you don't have an AFREP, you're limiting your capabilities, while wasting valuable time and money on repairs," said Burgess.