AFREP saves millions in funding
By Senior Airman Destinee Sweeney, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 20, 2018
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- When an Air Force asset is deemed unusable, there is a select group of experts that step in to breathe new life into the component; these professionals use their wide range of skills and resources to tinker with objects that would otherwise be tossed away, giving other units a chance to save time and money.
The 20th Maintenance Group Air Force Repair Enhancement Program is full of Airmen who take pride in turning would-be trash back into treasure.
“Everyday we go out to the supply warehouse and we look for broken parts,” said Tech. Sgt. Trevor Watts, 20th MXG AFREP manager. “If we find a part we’re capable of fixing, we pick it up, repair it and turn it back into supply and we get money for that part.”
Technicians are responsible for repairing any Team Shaw unit’s damaged items, ranging from fitness center treadmills and metal detectors to mission-capable F-16 Fighting Falcon components, in an effort to save Air Force and 20th Fighter Wing funds.
Afterward the money that would have gone to purchasing a new part goes into an AFREP funding account to be redistributed to the wing and maintenance group.
In fiscal year 2017, AFREP saved $3.8 million and claimed the title for highest-grossing program for the year. So far in FY 2018, the technicians have saved $1.2 million. With the money saved, the 20th MXG has been able to pay for necessary resources such as travel pods, land mobile radios and paint booth materials.
Hand-picked from maintenance career fields by the 20th MXG commander, AFREP Airmen combine their various skills, knowledge bases and complete archive of F-16 technical orders while determining how to best restore assets.
The repairmen also receive micro and miniature solder training, which allows them to work on small components, modify aircraft parts and fix circuit cards.
Although they have many resources at their disposal, Watts said a successful technician needs to be self-driven and creative.
“People get pigeon-holed into not thinking creatively,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Creznic, 20th MXG AFREP technician. “We have detailed TO’s that tell us very specific ways things need to be fixed. If you get an off-the-wall component, you want to have a technician who can think out of the box.”
Both Watts and Staff Sgt. Brandon Henry, 20th MXG AFREP technician, said their favorite thing about their job is seeing the impact their work has on the mission.
Creznic said one positive outcome he has seen was when the shop fixed aircraft components needed downrange at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, directly impacting the mission and allowing jets to execute daily operations.
“It’s cool because we’re a lot closer to the impact and we can directly see how our work correlates with mission accomplishments,” said Creznic.
The 20th MXG AFREP supports the 20th FW as well as its tenant units on base, the 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 202 and McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. By saving time and money, the team of technicians work to sustain combat-ready F-16 airpower in addition to every other aspect of the 20th FW.