by Senior Airman Adarius Petty
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/27/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- -- Since
fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Air Force has faced the long-term effects of
sequestration resulting in the reduction of manning needed to complete
the mission while working with a tighter budget.
With the phrase "do more with less" in the forefront of the minds of
today's Airmen, the implication for the need to save money is still a
For Tech. Sgt. Kasey Hollinger, 432nd Maintenance Squadron aerospace
ground equipment craftsman, it was this priority that inspired him to
try and complete the mission while saving the Air Force nearly $100,000 -
starting with his own duty section first.
"Due to an upcoming mobility tasking I was assigned to fix a nitrogen
cart," said Hollinger. "My leadership felt I was best suited for the
The self-generating nitrogen cart is used to separate nitrogen from the
oxygen in the air and compresses it to be used to inflate age equipment
and aircraft tires.
"This cart was a sole asset; it was one out of three nitrogen carts on
base but the other two are down range supporting combat operations,"
said Master Sgt. Michael Chance, 432nd MXS assistant maintenance flight
The AGE shop is authorized manning for nearly 40 people, but within the
last few months the already undermanned unit has lost an additional
seven Airmen primarily to retirements and separations.
Now 20 individuals are responsible for more than 761 pieces of equipment
that support MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft
for both home station and deployed commitments.
"Hollinger was the most experienced and the nitrogen cart had to be fixed as soon as possible," said Chance.
The nitrogen cart had numerous problems and had also missed scheduled
maintenance while it wasn't used for the four year period it had been
out of commission.
"The cart had multiple maintenance write ups, the system coolant pump
and programmable logic controller were shorted and the actual hose reel
where the nitrogen comes out was bad," said Hollinger.
Prepping himself for the ultimate test in AGE maintenance, Hollinger
sized up his opponent. Before he began his task, he contemplated the
cost of replacing the cart with a new one.
It would cost the Air Force $90,000 to replace the broken unit, however,
with some time and ingenuity Hollinger was able to fix it for just
"It took me a total of 48 duty hours to complete the tasking ," said Hollinger.
Despite the challenges that come with being undermanned, Hollinger and
other AGE maintainers have several accomplishments to be proud of,
including surpassing and sustaining an above average Air Combat Command
passing rate on inspection.
He attributes a portion of his success to having a small shop of Airmen
with infectiously positive attitudes that have helped build strong
camaraderie within his unit.
Among the maintenance challenges he faces at work, Hollinger also finds time to work on things in his home and on vehicles.
"I work on cars, pumps, compressors," he said. "You name it I can pretty much fix it."