AFREP sustains mission, saves money

USAF photo: Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez Michael Harris, 27th SOMG, inspects a circuit card for an LCD monitor. Through the Air Force Repair Enhancement Program, airmen work with advanced machinery to detect and repair malfunctioning circuits in equipment.

By 2nd Lt. Raymond Gobberg: 27th SOW Public Affairs

Most of us do not look forward to encountering malfunctioning piece of equipment.

However, the same does not apply to the airmen working in the Air Force Repair Enhancement Program.

These highly-trained and extremely gifted maintainers salivate at every opportunity to turn a seemingly useless piece of equipment back into a properly functioning item.

Whether it is an aircraft taxi light or an office printer that is malfunctioning, the AFREP process works exactly the same according to Samuel Krahn, AFREP manager for the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group.

“When a maintenance technician takes a bad part off of a jet, it is either going to be an investment item or an expense item,” he said.

“If it is an expense item, and is not repairable on station, it will go to DRMO,” continued Krahn. “Your investment items will be directed to a repair depot, repaired, and injected back into the supply system.”

At Cannon, supply and AFREP work closely together, giving the AFREP maintenance technicians the ability to quickly scan investment items that come through supply and decide whether or not repair is a viable option.

“Initially, when someone walks the part through the door, we need to do some initial research to determine if the part is a viable repair,” said Krahn. “If the repair checks out as viable, the item is introduced into the program and catalogued.”

During the research process, the AFREP technicians determine whether or not they have the capability to repair, or to procure, the necessary subcomponents of the malfunctioning piece of equipment.

The airmen at AFREP view each repair as a top priority to sustaining the mission at Cannon; nothing is seen as insignificant.

“It doesn’t matter if it is an admin (airman) in the back who needs his printer to work,” said Krahn. “If his printer does not work, he may not be able to print somebody’s orders, preventing them from going TDY.”

The technicians at AFREP see it as their goal to ensure that all of the gears in the Cannon mission continue to turn while saving the Air Force money, he said.

“Over the past year, we did over $200,000 in cost savings,” said Krahn. “In the area of cost avoidance we did $220,000.”

This is a relatively low figure due to the decreased number of airframes present at Cannon during its transformation from Air Combat Command to Air Force Special Operations Command.

“In previous years, when we were ACC, this office actually led the F-16 AFREP offices across the Air Force,” said Krahn. “We were number one for two consecutive years, grossing over $1 million dollars saved each of those two years.”

As Cannon continues to ramp up the mission and more aircraft arrive on station, the monetary savings will once again reach the million dollar range.

Contributing to the mission and saving the Air Force significant amounts of money gives the airmen who work at AFREP an extremely high level of job satisfaction, continued Krahn.

“I love this job,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Vanvels, 27th SOMXG. “The feeling you get by saving the amount of money we do, I don’t think you can get that feeling from something else.”

The program prides itself on its ability to expedite the repairs process, reducing the amount of time a piece of equipment spends making its way back to the office or the flightline, added Sgt. Vanvels.

“Not only are we able to save the Air Force money, but because somebody from the flightline can bring a part here to get repaired within a few days, rather than having to wait longer than a week for the new part to arrive, we help streamline the process,” said Senior Airman Michael Harris, 27th SOMXG.

If you have any further questions about the AFREP program, contact Samuel Krahn at 784-6093.