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A well-oiled machine: 386 ELRS vehicle management strengthen bonds, create dream team

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

Non-commissioned officers are something that simply cannot be replicated no matter how hard some might try. Inside and out, the hard work and dedication they put into those around them to ensure that they stay agile, effective and lethal is invaluable.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management team. These Airmen don’t just show up to check a box—they rise to the challenges before them and the results speak for themselves.

Since arriving here, the flight has eliminated thousands of dollars in vehicle contracts and has maintained a 95-percent vehicle operability across the wing. The team tackled a black friday-sized parking lot worth of work orders for damaged vehicles and shrunk it to a mere shoppette-sized parking lot and it’s still dwindling. The team’s philosophy to seeing such effectiveness is founded in empowering its Airmen to the absolute maximum, regardless of their amount of stripes.

The team attributes these home runs to creating a plan together rather than in a vacuum. They their goals to what they wanted to achieve as a team

“I wanted to try to work and utilize the power of our team’s stripes through empowerment, psychological safety, connectedness, trust and teamwork,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Melton, 386th ELRS vehicle management flight chief. “What we did was break down our rank structure and we then rebuilt it off our NCO’s backs.”

Melton explains how this created a massive shift in operations and mission efficiency and effectiveness.

“This created ownership,” said Melton. “By knowing that they own their processes and in knowing that they're doing good for the base and the installation community, the team started seeing their work flourish and they started realizing just what their impact was.”

Realizing exactly how each individual person impacted the mission, they found a profound sense of purpose.

“Senior did something I've never witnessed in my 12 years,” said Tech. Sgt. John Carroll, 386th ELRS vehicle management superintendent. “He gave us complete authority within reason to do what we thought was in the best interest of the mission. That allowed us as section leads and supervisors to run our shops how we saw fit. This also enabled me to give my guys that same trust and power. So when we come together as a team, it's not, ‘Hey, I want this, get it done.’ Instead it’s ‘How can we make this work the best? Where can I put you to benefit yourself, your career, and the team overall?’”

This trust and empowerment has bled into every facet of vehicle management. For instance, Airman 1st Class Kendreaunna Farrow, 386th ELRS fleet management, has gone above and beyond by taking it upon herself to create a master parking plan which directs vehicle management operations for every mechanic. Farrow credits this empowerment to her team and the superior communication she has day-in and day-out with each person.

“I don't think I've ever worked with a team that has gotten along so well like the way that we do here,” said Farrow. “We didn't check the box. We could’ve just come into work every day, said ‘Hey good morning,’ did our job and came home. But instead we take the time out of our day to talk to each other and we actually get to know each other versus just being coworkers.”

When the garage isn’t echoing with sounds of wrenches turning and tires being changed, moments are being created. It’s these moments that are making the mission stronger each day.

“They are phenomenal out here from top to bottom,” said Carroll. “This is one of the best teams I've ever deployed with.”