211th EIS vehicle maintenance team gains valuable hands-on training during Exercise Frosty Spear

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
Harsh winters and snow storms plague the 176th Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and the 168th Air Refueling Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks, Alaska, which makes the Alaskan summer the opportune time to ensure snow removal equipment fleets are prepared for what the next winter will bring.

Five heavy mobile equipment mechanics from the 193rd Special Operations Wing, 211th Engineering Installation Squadron, vehicle maintenance shop, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pa., are participating in Exercise Frosty Spear at the 168th ARW and 176th Wing, by spending two weeks assisting the local VM with summer rebuilds.
"The exercise not only provides support to the host Wings, but provides an opportunity for 211th maintainers to put hands on Air Force assets not available at home station," said Lt. Col. Aerick Paxton, commander, 211th EIS. "Additionally, participation is a re-blueing experience for Airmen who don't always have access to real world maintenance opportunities - the experience will have a tremendous impact when applied to a deployed location."

While getting applicable hands-on training, the 211th Airmen were able to contribute to an important part of the Alaska Air National Guard's mission.

"With the 211th team here, our summer rebuild will be expedited and the vehicles will get back to our civil engineers a lot more quickly," said Senior Master Sgt. Peter Pratt, 176th Wing, vehicle maintenance superintendent. "In return, we are able to provide good quality training to the 211th team and enable them to sign off on items on their career field education and training plan."

Summer rebuilds are required for northern-tier bases and are a bumper-to-bumper review of each vehicle, Pratt explained.

"We begin collecting data in April to determine parts and expenses," said Pratt. "The goal is to spend the extra time and money now on our fleet so the vehicles don't break when we need them the most."

For Staff Sgt. Justin Martz, heavy mobile equipment mechanic, 211th EIS, this is what annual training is all about, but with an added benefit.   Martz also had an opportunity to evaluate the team's abilities to complete several core tasks not possible to observe at home station. 

"We're able to get the core training here that we need and in doing so we are able to help lighten their work load," said Martz. "This is what I like about the Air National Guard -everyone is so friendly and helpful, we really work together as a team."