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Reaching the APEX: Vehicle Management completes Agile Employment capstone event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

A team of 15 vehicle management Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron saw the culmination of a 10 month-long vehicle maintenance shop innovation effort, dubbed APEX maintenance, during a capstone event April 14, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

APEX is the term coined by Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Kelleher, 379th ELRS vehicle management flight chief, for the process. It demonstrates the capability of Airmen and the vehicle management construct to produce top-tier fleet health previously thought largely unattainable in the contingency environment.

Additionally, the shop has been organized in a manner that promotes high intra-theater mobility without sacrificing the ability to sustain Al Udeid’ s vehicle fleet, which in total is the third largest in the U.S. Air Force. .

“The team’s collective efforts made it possible to mobilize quickly, configure bays and resources on a single pallet for each location,” said Kelleher. “This proof of concept of rapid maintenance repair capability presents huge logistics mobility and force generation effects across the U.S. Air Forces Central area of responsibility. Because of its small, but highly-effective footprint, this concept truly is a force generation multiplier in that it alleviates some of the delays and stressors of sourcing manpower through more traditional avenues and is compatible with other multi-function Airmen efforts.”

In total, the team has completed three successive test deployments of the concept construct. Each of which were executed in less than 12 hours total and began and ended with the shop in the state as it would normally exist on any given day at Al Udeid. The tests have shown the projection of the maintenance bay capability can succeed anytime and anywhere, with or without base operating support.

“The APEX concept enabled half of the entire vehicle maintenance shop to be deployed no-notice,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Johnson, 379th ELRS vehicle equipment maintenance. “We deployed eight two-man teams, with all required equipment loaded on a single pallet for each site to locations not usually suited to have vehicle mechanics. I believe that this system as a whole has a place, is very useful and could be the future of how vehicle maintenance conducts daily operations.”

The APEX strategy successes are the result of multiple evolutions across all aspects of the flight and facility-wide process overhauls in the past few months of development, allowing the shop to continue to make process improvements.

“Here at Al Udeid, we are focused on continuous process improvement in order to execute the mission. We have empowered our Airmen to take ownership of the processes within vehicle management in order to develop ways to stay competitive as warfighters,” said Capt. Elizabeth Narramore, 379th ELRS vehicle management flight commander. “Understanding the potential direction of future deployments around the AOR, the team has developed a rapid deployment process that functions not only within current U.S. Air Forces Central Command Agile Combat Employment initiatives, but has implications elsewhere in the Air Force to fulfill the Secretary of the Air Force’s ‘Accelerate Change or Lose’ directive.”