Sweeper truck repair keeps FOD at bay

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Brooks
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight and the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Metals Technology collaborated to repair a Tornado sweeper truck at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, during the month of November 2021.

The sweeper truck is necessary to remove foreign objects of debris off the airfield thereby preventing damage and destruction to aircraft.

“FOD can get sucked up into a jet engine and do significant damage,” said Tech. Sgt. Mark Manuel, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Group quality assurance contract officer representative. “Every year this type of damage ends up costing the Air Force lots of time and money.”

Recently, the sub-frame and safety stands were damaged on one of the five sweeper trucks, according to Capt. Andrew McGee, flight commander of the 386th ELRS vehicle management flight. A collaborative repair between the 386th ELRS and the 386th EMXS is unusual and therefore a bit unorthodox, he said.

“Vehicle management disassembled the vehicle and the metals shop replaced the sub-frame and also fabricated and repaired the safety bars,” said McGee. “This presents some potential danger, but through the ingenuity of our mechanics, a safe repair of the asset was made.”

In the coming days, the 386th EMXS combat metals shop will receive the sweeper truck for final repairs.

“We work closely with LRS to ensure that the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron vehicle fleet stays missions ready,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Herron, 386th EMXS combat metals craftsman. “The metals shop provides the capability for specialty welding and custom fabrication jobs outside of the typical repair spectrum, allowing us to fix unique problems quickly and return their vehicles and other assets back to mission ready status.

“We will be repairing the safety bars that hold the sweeper’s shell up for maintenance or while dumping the shells contents. We will have to fabricate the bars from scratch using other sweepers as an example then cut, position, and weld the bars to the shell so that it operates correctly.”

It is imperative to airfield operations and safety that this fleet of sweeper trucks remain serviceable at all times, according to McGee. Sweepers are critical assets to ASAB and the CES works diligently to mitigate FOD risks on a regular basis.