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LRS ensures Offutt gets plowed

  • Published
  • By Chad Watkins
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Winterly weather struck Offutt Air Force Base relentlessly mid- January, but the men and women of the 55th Logistic Readiness Squadron’s vehicle maintenance flight showed why readiness is in LRS. 

As the snow was falling, the decision to close the base came down from the command staff.  Less personnel on the installation allows snow removal teams from the 55th Civil Engineering Squadron easier access to clear the runway, roads and parking lots, and thus ensure Offutt’s return to full mission capability.

“We all become as one when it comes to getting the snowplows repaired and ready,” said 1 Lt. Margaret Muenchrath, 55 LRS vehicle maintenance flight commander, speaking about their partnership with the 55 CES.

The 55 LRS maintains 54 snow removal vehicles valued at 19.5 million dollars. During this last snowstorm, the vehicle maintenance folks completed 25 different work orders on vehicles, fixing 45 unique issues; 23 of those vehicles were able to be quickly repaired and returned to duty to combat the ever-piling white menace.

Timothy Ramsey, heavy mobile equipment mechanic, said the hardest part is figuring out where to get the parts for the vehicles while in the middle of a snow crisis.

“During a snowfall event, our goal is to get those plows out and back in operation within eight hours of them coming to our shop,” said Ramsey. “We have a lot of basic parts in our inventory, and we can usually get those fixed up quick and back out in two to three hours, but for bigger parts we sometimes have to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ so that these vehicles can get out as soon as possible.”

Long hours are no stranger at the vehicle maintenance shop, especially when it comes to ensuring that Offutt remains mission ready.

“We have our Airmen on call at all hours during these types of snow emergencies,” said Master Sgt. Lucas Hochstein, 55 LRS vehicle maintenance. “Even when the rest of the base is called off, our Airmen are working around the clock maintaining the snow equipment to ensure that the mission can get back underway.”

The Airmen doing the repairs fully understand the importance their work plays in the mission readiness at the base.

“It is essential that we fix all the problems on our snow removal vehicles,” said Senior Airman Cecelia Carson, 55 LRS vehicle maintainer. “It’s important to us as Airmen that we understand the impact we have on the mission. Knowing our ‘why’ makes us give that extra effort.”

Offutt reopened 31 hours after the closure was announced.