Travis AFB opens AFREP

  • Published
  • By Nicholas Pilch
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The 60th Maintenance Group opened the base’s first Air Force Repair and Enhancement Program with a ribbon cutting ceremony, Aug. 15, 2022.

The AFREP primarily supports the repair of electronic components like circuit boards, but also has the capability to support other replaceable aircraft units like switchboard buttons and lightbulb housing units. The program supports the C-17 Globemaster III and C-5M Super Galaxy, and will support the KC-46A Pegasus when it arrives to Travis Air Force Base.

Those familiar with Travis’ flight line have seen the C-5 parked on the far side with no battle buddy. The original intent for that specific C-5 was to display it on base and use it to showcase part of the history of Travis AFB, but the funds aren’t arriving any time soon, according to 60th Air Mobility Wing leadership. The C-5 will be scrapped, but not before all the salvageable parts are stripped and repurposed by programs like AFREP.

While mirroring statistics from Dover AFB, Delaware, the program is looking to save the Air Force upwards of $500,000 in the first year, according to Master Sgt. Rodolfo Guzman, 60th Maintenance Squadron avionics production superintendent.

“The benefits of having a program like this far outweigh the other option,” Guzman said. “When the KC-46 gets here, it will be a quick implementation of processes to be capable of supporting the new aircraft.”

AFREP’s have been steadily growing around the Air Force for the last few years. However, it wasn’t until Staff Sgt. Aaron Heckman, 60th MXS AFREP technician, arrived on station from Spangdahlem, Germany, which has an AFREP, asked the question: “Why doesn’t Travis have one of these?”

Guzman asked the question to group leadership. Then, resource advisors stepped in to assess cost variables. Guzman then worked with the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron Materiel Management flight service center to determine the use of condemned parts. Three months from the time the question was asked, the AFREP is now fully functional.

“Anytime supply can be a part of the repair cycle process that affects the enterprise, we are here to support,” said Master Sgt. Sarah Oh, 60th LRS customer support section chief. “As materiel managers, we are continually looking to expand innovation here at TAFB. When MX presented the idea, without question we did what we needed to do. Communication and teamwork have been at the very core of this program coming to fruition.”

One of the challenges operating an AFREP is having plenty of Airmen that are microminiature soldering certified, or have the ability to repair circuit boards on aircraft parts.

“Repairing a circuit board can have difficulties,” said Heckman. “Removing and replacing components on boards can be easy, but the hard part is doing circuit board repairs from damage like burns. When that happens, we have to cut a hole in the circuit board and have to fabricate the entire circuit board as new.”

According to Guzman and Heckman, the six-week class is the toughest of its kind and has a high wash-out rate. The MXS Avionics Shop plans to have two more Airmen pass the class within the next year to ensure the success of the AFREP at Travis AFB.