By Senior Airman Omari Bernard, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 12, 2017
Kadena Air Base, Japan -- Kadena Air Base is one of the U.S. Air Force’s most corrosive bases for vehicles and aircraft. With constant humidity and proximity to saltwater from the ocean, the climate takes its toll on vehicles, this keeps the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s vehicle maintainers constantly busy.
The 18 LRS’s new vehicle corrosion control program has become PACAF's blueprint to protect wartime readiness vehicles in outdoor storage.
“Our aggressive corrosion control plan was primarily developed to help extend the life of the newly procured $20M Airfield Damage Repair vehicle fleet,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin Petty, 18th LRS allied trade NCO in charge. “Corrosion is one of the main issues that vehicle maintainers face on Kadena. We can paint a vehicle and within a year, if it’s not treated, it’s coming back in for repairs.”
The ADR vehicle fleet is used to perform rapid repairs to Kadena’s runways, ensuring the 18th Wing can maintain its flight operations.
According to Petty, without constant corrosion control and repainting every five to seven years, the vehicle fleet would most likely not reach its 17 year life expectancy.
“Within 5 years, vehicles generally require complete paint jobs and, often times, require extensive body repairs due to corrosion prior to paint application,” Petty said. “With help from other members of the squadron, I researched and selected products and developed a plan to apply the product to the ADR vehicles.”
Petty was able to find a preventative product that could potentially save the Air Force millions of dollars and contacted the product vendor to arrange a training course on the correct steps for product application.
The vendor sent over Larr Mudd, corrosion control trainer, to aid in training members of the 18th LRS and Airmen from logistics readiness squadrons across the Pacific Air Forces that were able to attend the course at Kadena AB.
“The training lasts for 2 days,” Mudd said. “It begins with a summary on the product and what it does as well as product familiarization and hands on training for the last day.”
According to Mudd, the product provides a thin layer of protection over bare metal or painted surfaces so the vehicle can resist corrosion, effectively reducing the amount of corrosion sustained and maintaining mission effectiveness for longer periods of time.
Vehicles exposed to Kadena's corrosive environment begin to show signs of rust development within the first few months on station if left untreated.
“As a retired Air Force vehicle maintainer, rust removal from corrosion always cost a lot of labor hours,” Mudd said. “If the mission required a specific vehicle, they would want it as soon as possible. By applying these products, the Air Force saves on man hours and labor contracts while also effectively lengthening the usefulness of assets.”