Bus renovations keep AFDW ceremonial mission rolling
By Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis, Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
/ Published March 01, 2016
Joint Base Andrews, Md. -- Everyone can appreciate having reliable transportation. The 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight uses the Service Life Enhancement Program to ensure transportation for Airmen in the NCR remains mission ready.
The Air Force District of Washington partnered with the 11th LRS to ensure funding was available to repair the Joint Base Andrews Coach Bus fleet. These buses have a unique mission of providing transportation for the U.S Air Force Honor Guard and Band, but the frequent cross-country road trips ultimately took a toll on the equipment.
"The JBA Coach Bus fleet previously averaged a 50% mission capable rate, with an Air Force Standard of 87%. This frequently caused issues during the numerous Air Force Honor Guard and Band missions across the country," 1st Lt. Samuel Barnes, 11th LRS squadron section commander said. "A thorough analysis by the 11th LRS Vehicle Management Flight provided convincing evidence that an upgrade to the current assets was needed."
The Band and Honor Guard average 25 cross country tours each year. There have been numerous maintenance issues on these tours which caused last minute scrambles to find local assets to support the mission, said Barnes.
"The loss of one of those buses meant we had to combine all of those personnel onto fewer vehicles," said Master Sgt. Blake Arrington, Air Force Band NCOIC of National Tours. "It compressed our timeline."
The upgrades include enhancing performance and reliability, and installing new upholstery, paint and windows. These improvements will create a positive image of the Air Force to the millions of patrons who come to watch the Air Force Honor Guard and Band perform each year, said Barnes.
The Service Life Enhancement Program will provide reliability and assurance to the Air Force Band and Honor Guard by making these types of essential repairs. AFDW Commander Maj. Gen. Darryl Burke visited the 11th LRS VMF to take a look at one of the new upgraded buses.
"Our Air Force busses are most likely the first thing people see when our units visit a new city," Burke said. "The first impression is critical, and it is important that our physical assets reflect the integrity and excellence of our Airmen who use them."
The SLEP program is currently being widely used across the Air Force, said Burke. Refurbishing older equipment saves the Air Force money each year and helps Airmen maintain readiness in a fiscally constrained environment.