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188th vehicle maintainers prove to be high speed

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, uses a plasma cutter at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark., to remove eyelets Sept. 1, 2015. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, uses a plasma cutter at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark., to remove eyelets Sept. 1, 2015. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, operates on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark.  Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, operates on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Senior Airman Aaron Russell, vehicle mechanic, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, operate on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Senior Airman Aaron Russell, vehicle mechanic, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, operate on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, and Senior Airman Aaron Russell, vehicle mechanic, operate on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Corbit, vehicle mechanic, and Senior Airman Aaron Russell, vehicle mechanic, operate on a Zim mixer Oct. 7, 2015, at Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark. Airmen within Vehicle Maintenance handle all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Cody Martin/Released)

EBBING AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Since the invention of the wheel, transportation has added efficiency to endeavors man can accomplish. With this advent of technology also came the maintainers of the machinery. Current forms of transportation need to be maintained in order to prevent failures and repaired to fix damage. The 188th Wing's vehicle maintainers face these issues head on to insure we remain mission capable.

Within Vehicle Management there are two separate sections, yet both are vital to keeping the wheels turning. The Vehicle Analysis section generates reports, manages the fleet and makes sure that all the squadrons and users in the wing have the right equipment to complete the mission. The Vehicle Maintenance section handles all maintenance concerns for registered vehicles and technical support for ex-registered vehicles.

"We maintain vehicles and equipment, from golf carts and trucks to bulldozers and excavators," said Senior Airman Aaron Russell, vehicle mechanic. "We repair them when they are broken; whether it is small or big we fix the issue."

The 188th Vehicle Management section within the Logistics and Readiness Squadron is vital to the success of the 188th Wing's mission, especially with the wing transitioning from a flying mission to a remotely piloted aircraft and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. The 188th vehicle maintainers have proven to be a force multiplier by supporting groups and squadrons with their vehicular needs, from maintaining vehicles that emergency managers use to the heavy equipment that the Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Readiness Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Training Squadron uses to train other Guardsmen.

"We've had a lot of changes, especially in the vehicle fleet," said Senior Master Sgt. Ricky Sehorn, chief of transportation. "We went from supporting the flying mission with aircraft towing tractors and refuel trucks to supporting smaller vehicles, as well as the heavy equipment used by the RED HORSE training squadron."

The 188th vehicle maintainers have quickly adapted to the mission change due to the training provided through the Air National Guard. The training program offers Airmen the opportunity to earn automotive service excellence certifications as well as an Associate's degree in automotive technology through the Community College of the Air Force.

"In the 188th, we have a really good apprenticeship program set up," Sehorn stated. "You can come in and you can learn the trade and there is not as much pressure on you."

The 188th Wing also introduces a wider array of vehicles for their Airmen to learn to repair and maintain.

"The military gives you an opportunity to work on different types of equipment and different types of systems." Sehorn spoke. "It has given me a lot broader knowledge of the type of vehicles I can work on and it allowed me to get used to the type of systems and how to diagnose those systems."

Airmen within the Vehicle Management section continuously demonstrate that they are essential throughout the entire ANG. Whether working on base, on a deployment or as a civilian mechanic, vehicle maintainers prove that the education and opportunity provided in the Guard sets them apart.