Salt Lake City, UT -- The 151st Air Refueling Wing hosted the Air National Guard Production Assessment Team, who came to assist with improving processes and increasing aircraft availability for an entire week, Mar. 13-16, 2023, at Roland R. Wright Air Base, Utah. This collaboration between the PAT and the 151st ARW and 151st Maintenance Group is a part of the National Guard Bureau's initiative to enhance the operational readiness of Air National Guard units across the country.
The Production Assessment Team is a group of experienced technicians and experts tasked with evaluating and improving the production processes used by ANG units to maintain their aircraft. Before the on-site visit, the PAT and 151 MXG command coordinated and built a list of nine functions for the unit to enhance its maintenance practices and increase aircraft availability.
"I work with the command and the National Guard Bureau to hand select my team for the PAT," said Col. Brain McCullough, special assistant to the director of NGB, PAT team lead. "We use the generated list to ensure we bring the subject matter experts for each section, ensuring our on-site visit is beneficial."
To address these issues, The PAT evaluates various aspects of an organization's maintenance practices, including inventory management, work schedules, training programs, and overall efficiency, and provides recommendations for improvement.
Col. McCullough continues, "Our vision, myself and Brig. Gen. Donald K. Carpenter, director of logistics, engineering, and force protection ANG, will continue this process improvement to decrease mission and non-mission capable maintenance, a huge reason for limited aircraft availability across the entire ANG."
After looking at reports from the past year, units that the PAT visited saw their aircraft availability increase by 10%, increasing overall mission capabilities by over 5%.
"We have nine aircraft, and this team has already been to several ANG units similar to ours," said Col. William Glenn, commander 151st Maintenance Group. "Based on their experience and knowledge that they have gained from the past 11 months of implementing change, this will allow us to look at what we are doing and see how we can improve."
It is a collaborative effort that is beneficial to both parties, as the PAT provides valuable insights and recommendations, and the 151st ARW can implement those recommendations to improve its operational efficiency and aircraft availability and to be better equipped while maintaining its fleet of KC-135R Stratotankers to support the Air Force and allied operations around the world.
"Our folks know the why of what we do, and our leadership team emphasizes that," said Col. Glenn. "Having that knowledge and inclusion directly influences their willingness to look at ways to change and improve our availability based on the threat, then you add these new best practices, and they're going to be more willing to adapt."
The visit of the PAT to the 151st ARW is a critical step toward improving aircraft readiness and operational efficiency. With the PAT's assistance, the unit will be able to continue to support the Air Force and other military branches and ensure that its fleet of KC-135R Stratotankers remains mission-ready at all times. The partnership between the 151st ARW, ANG, and the PAT is a testament to the commitment of all parties to excellence in aircraft maintenance and the Air Force's air superiority.