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NEWS | March 21, 2012

Vehicle Ops keeps Joint Base moving

By Senior Airman Anthony J. Hyatt 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

People, equipment and supplies are constantly being moved throughout Joint Base Charleston making the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Operations section vital to overall mission support and daily operational success.

Vehicle Operations has 37 military members and 11 civilians working at JB Charleston - Air Base and Weapons Station, operating 70 vehicles ranging from sedans to buses, utility trucks and full 18-wheel tractor/trailer combinations that transport personnel and materials. They also drive material-handling equipments, wreckers, mounted cranes and hoists.

At a six-week technical school at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., Vehicle Operations Airmen gain skills in operating vehicles, cleaning and servicing vehicles and overseeing the loading and unloading of personnel and cargo. Members also learn to prepare operator records and government licenses.

Military and civilian vehicle operations specialists also perform vehicle dispatching and receive requests for transportation services, according to Tech. Sgt. Kory Kearney, 628th LRS Vehicle Operations control center supervisor.

"Vehicle Operations is an exciting career field," said Master Sgt. Jason Neisen, 628th LRS Vehicle Operations non-commissioned officer in charge. "From tractor trailers, buses and tow trucks to cranes, trains and forklifts, if the mission involves moving people or cargo - Vehicle Ops makes it happen."

With the Vehicle Operations section operating 24 hours a day, operators or drivers are always on shift to respond to aircrew support. They transport aircrew to base operations and life support for gear turn-in. On average, the section can receive anywhere from 200 to 300 aircrew requests per week.

"One of our main responsibilities is when aircraft land here, whether they're stationed here or transient, we pick up the aircrew and take them to where they need to go," said Kearney. "We also move mission capable aircraft parts and incoming cargo off of the flight line and to units around the base."

Another responsibility is distinguished visitor support. Operators often transport congressmen and generals on base tours.

"The good thing about our job is we always have our hand in the pot," added Kearney. "We always know what's going on at the base, who is visiting and who is leaving."

To give Vehicle Ops an extra hand in pick-up request, customers can utilize the "You Drive It" or "U.D.I." program.

"With transient aircrew, if we can't support them, individuals can check out one of our U.D.I. vehicles," Kearney added. "They can support themselves with these vehicles but for official business only."

"Regulations say 'If you have an official military appointment, you can get a vehicle from us,'" stated Kearney. "If a unit doesn't have a vehicle assigned to them already, they can borrow a vehicle from us to accommodate their mission."

To operate a government vehicle on base, drivers must possess a government drivers license, which they can obtain from Vehicle Operations.

Drivers need a military identification card, a valid state drivers license and an Air Force Form 171 filled out by their unit vehicle control officer to obtain a government drivers license.

All in all, if something is moving on base, Vehicle Operations probably has a hand in it.

"Our vehicle operators have been working behind the scenes to support virtually every unit associated with JB Charleston," said 1st Lt. Adrianne Schilling, 628th LRS Vehicle Operations officer-in-charge of distribution. "Additionally, they have spent the better part of the past decade driving convoys all over Iraq with our Army brethren. While seldom in the spotlight, these combat truckers were vital to sustaining operations in Iraq for the duration of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. I am very proud to show up to work with them every day."

"Without us [Vehicle Operations], people and property wouldn't move," said Kearney.

For more information on JB Charleston's Vehicle Operations section or to check out a government vehicle, contact 963-4236.