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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- For one small aircraft maintenance squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, embracing the principles of continuous improvement has reaped tangible results.
The 571st AMXS, Operating Location-Alpha, has completed maintenance on their 300th consecutive T-38 Talon on time and on cost, and in the sustainment world of the Air Force Materiel Command, this is no small feat.
The 571st AMXS started work at Randolph in October 2010 as a geographically separated unit from the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, a part of the Air Force Sustainment Center's Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The team is charged with maintenance, repair and overhaul of all T-38 aircraft in the Air Force inventory.
"Being geographically separated is a challenge," said Donald Gregson, the 571st AMXS OL-A director. "Communication is key and letting our leadership know our needs is a constant factor."
Gregson said the completion of work on their 300th T-38 is a significant accomplishment given the challenges of building a depot facility from the ground up. Meeting challenges with manpower, facility renovations and procurement of tools and equipment helped the team build efficiencies into their processes as they continue to grow.
"We have requirements to produce a jet in 24 days, but we are now producing the jets in 13 to 14 days," Gregson said. "Many issues can pop up in a 24-day span that require fast reactions, teamwork and outside-the-box thinking."
Despite all the challenges, Gregson said the support of leadership and the can-do attitude of his people are what got his team to where they are now.
"Our leadership is committed to the success of this program and good people and teamwork are vital to our success," he said.
One of the 571 AMXS's many partners at Randolph is 12th Flying Training Wing Maintenance. Robert West, the 12th FTW maintenance director, said the transfer of workload to the depot facility has been seamless, mirroring the hard work and dedication of the 571st AMXS.
"The 12th MX and 571st AMXS have been working closely as part of JBSA-Randolph since the T-38 depot stood up," West said. "We are partnering on everything from line operations to AFSO21 events. We are happy to see the 300th aircraft has been processed through the 571st AMXS and look forward to the shared success of both of our units."
Although the 571st AMXS has successfully met many challenges thus far, their journey is not over, officials said. An increased maintenance schedule for fiscal 2014, which will generate more than 3,000 hours of work, will triple the unit's expected production hours and increase the number of aircraft they will be responsible to maintain to nearly 200.