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For whom the wrench turns

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Odin, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, replaces parts on an 18th Security Forces Squadron truck in the vehicle maintenance shop June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Vehicle maintainers with the 18th MSG work on several different types of government vehicles, such as 18th SFS patrol cars and 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron buses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tyler Odin, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, replaces parts on an 18th Security Forces Squadron truck in the vehicle maintenance shop June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Vehicle maintainers with the 18th MSG work on several different types of government vehicles, such as 18th SFS patrol cars and 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron buses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenneth Velez, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, replaces parts on an 18th Security Forces Squadron truck in the vehicle maintenance shop June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Vehicle maintainers work on several different types of government vehicles, such as 18th SFS patrol cars and 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron buses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenneth Velez, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, replaces parts on an 18th Security Forces Squadron truck in the vehicle maintenance shop June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Vehicle maintainers work on several different types of government vehicles, such as 18th SFS patrol cars and 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron buses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Conner Worthington, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, frays the ends of wires June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena Airmen rely on the vehicle maintenance shop to keep work vehicles operational so that the mission can be safely and effectively accomplished. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Conner Worthington, 18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintainer, frays the ends of wires June 21, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena Airmen rely on the vehicle maintenance shop to keep work vehicles operational so that the mission can be safely and effectively accomplished. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nick Emerick)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The sounds of bolts tightening and wrenches turning echoes through the warm air of the vehicle garage; contractors and Airmen work side by side to ensure mission-essential equipment is back on the streets as quickly as possible. 


18th Mission Support Group vehicle maintenance technicians work diligently under the scorching heat of June 21 inside the vehicle maintenance garage on Kadena; always ready in support of the mission. 


18th MSG vehicle maintainers work on a variety of government vehicles, such as 18th Security Forces patrol cars and 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron buses. 


“We work a lot on the vehicles that get maintainers to aircraft, so they can ensure aircraft are ready to fly at all times,” said Senior Airman Tyler Odin, 18th MSG vehicle maintenance technician. "As part of the Mission Support Group we ensure full capability of the Air Force mission in the Pacific Air Force region."


Every day vehicle maintenance technicians make sure vehicles are maintained and repaired correctly according to schedules. They also conduct general repairs including air conditioning and broken bulbs; making sure things are fixed at the lowest level so the shop doesn’t spend money on unnecessary parts, Odin added. 


“My job is to keep general and sustainment costs down, and I look at all the work orders and parts requested and make sure we get the right parts at the right time,” said Tech. Sgt. Jody Hill, 18th MSG NCOIC of general maintenance. “My favorite part is taking care of my Airmen by making sure they have everything they need, parts or otherwise to take care of themselves and get the mission done.”


Being in Japan leads to a unique opportunity for these Airmen to interact with both Japanese vehicles and the Japanese civilians with whom they work side by side. Between civilians and Airmen, the shop is a wealth of mechanical knowledge ready to be taught whenever necessary.


“Working on vehicles and training younger Airmen, or really any level, is such a great thing to do both personally and for the Air Force. It’s a personal responsibility I take very seriously; not everyone has the same experience as I do on a platform, and teaching them is my favorite thing to do,” said Odin. 


Training between Airmen and civilians broadens a scope of mechanical understanding in the vehicle garage that lets them run an efficient and mission capable shop. 


“We have 31 civilians that work in our shop, and I’ve been to a lot of places, deployed and overseas, and nobody works harder or is more knowledgeable than these civilians,” said Hill.