AFREP: saving money, resources and time

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
If it's broken and on its way to the trash can, there exists a two-man shop within the 49th Maintenance Group who may be able to help before money is spent replacing it.

The Air Force Repair Enhancement Program shop at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., repairs otherwise unserviceable equipment and finds innovative ways to improve the base's repair process.

"Our goal is to save the Air Force money by taking parts that would normally be thrown away, fix them and as long as the repair is economical, put them back into service," said Tech. Sgt. Byron Honsvick, an AFREP manager. "Instead of throwing away things we don't need to, we'll fix them."

The shop's main customer base lies in the F-22 Raptor and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Formal Training Unit, but they do support every functional group on base. The technicians use their expertise to fix anything from a circuit board to a treadmill, all while saving the Air Force money.

"If we fix an aircraft part and it goes back into supply, basically we get paid for that, but the money comes right back to the 49th Wing," Sergeant Honsvick said. "The whole purpose of it is to improve things around the base, whether that be improving cost savings or by generating actual money that can be used for the base populous."

Staff Sgt. Thomas Howard, a two-year AFREP veteran, said the shop has saved the Air Force approximately $320,000 since September 2009, while also fabricating about $120,000 in F-22 Raptor support equipment.

Equally important is the time they can save the customer, especially if an item falls into a mission0capable status.

"A lot of times, if you go MICAP for a part and it is a small part, you might have a six-month wait, and they need that part to fly that plane -- it may be an easy fix," Sergeant Honsvick said. "We fix it, drop it back into supply for them, and they get their part quickly."

Both of the technicians are certified 2M Micro-Miniature Technicians, and provide a cost-efficient capability that is highly regarded in the maintenance career field.

"The AFREP program is an important part of our maintenance repair activity," said Col. Donald Van Patten, the 49th Maintenance Group commander. "Not only does it provide timely repairs to critical assets and components at the base level to return them quickly to the user, it also avoids cost to the Air Force by eliminating the costs to purchase a new asset and the transportation costs involved in shipping the part back for repair and then to the user. Our AFREP activity at Holloman (AFB) relies on all users in MXG and across the base to identify eligible components and then to forward these items to our AFREP shop."

While the AFREP shop has proven its versatility in restoring an array of items from an assortment of shops, the two technicians agree they would like to see more.

"I like the puzzle, the troubleshooting ... it's pretty rewarding once you put the puzzle together and you make it happen," Sergeant Howard said. "Everything we do saves people time and money, so we're really here to make their job easier and faster and to provide a service to anybody on base who needs it."