28th LRS makes great strides in vehicle upgrade project
By Senior Airman Donald C. Knechtel, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 15, 2019
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Airmen from the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron are undergoing a massive transit modification project at Ellsworth Air Force Base. They will replace the out-of-date multi-purpose vehicles - nicknamed bread trucks - with five new transit vans which are being modified to better fit the mission.
“Almost everyone in vehicle maintenance has worked on the vans in some degree,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Tavares, a 28th LRS vehicle maintenance equipment supervisor. “The shop had to deal with the priority assets while doing modifications, so in the meantime we are letting the organizations use the old vehicles until the replacements are ready.”
The new vehicles have undergone a wide array of modifications over the past few months, making several updates to each van.
“The vans are going to be better insulated to keep the mechanics warm during winter and provide better and safer mobility for their tool storage,” Tavares explained. “The older models [Bread Trucks] are aging and go back to 2007; it was time for an upgrade.”
The rear interior portion of the vans was removed, allowing prep work to be done. Following this, the vans had a spray-in bed liner installed on the floor to increase strength and add slip resistance. In-house custom cages were manufactured and installed around the rear air conditioner, and benches from the older models were removed, then welded to better fit in the van.
The Airmen also insulated and reinforced rear side panels with plywood, installed eight coat hooks, and put in retaining hooks for ladders. To make it even more convenient a tool cage was added to retain the maintainer’s kits during travel. Once this is complete, a beacon light is mounted to the vehicle, making it ready for the flight line.
This is the most labor intensive modification done by vehicle maintenance in recent history. The project requires all hands on deck with several hundred hours to build and modify each vehicle in order to make them as effective as possible.