ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
The printer in your office has stopped working. We’re mid-pandemic and no one will let you enter their office to print off the paperwork you need for your next meeting. You inform your flight chief, and he tells you they already put in a request for a new one months ago. Now you’ve missed your appointment because dealing with the printer took entirely too long and you are still left with an unresolved problem.
At a base like Andersen, in the middle of the Indo-Pacific, it can be hard to get technology, equipment, and materials back to the requesting squadron in a timely manner. The Air Force Repair Enhancement Program here is a resource available for units to get their broken equipment fixed in-house, instead of shipping it off island.
The AFREP, or more colloquially known as Gold Flag, is an Air Force initiative to repair electrical and mechanical components across the installation and return them to service, saving both time and money.
“The program can be used to repair any item that a unit might have instead of them sending the asset to DRMO,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Byrne, 36th Maintenance Squadron accessories flight chief. “This would allow the unit to save money because they wouldn’t have to buy new assets. The only thing required from any user who drops off items to our shop is that they would have to pay for the necessary parts to fix their asset.”
This program is still relatively new to the Air Force, but is quickly being adapted to bases all around the world. The program here was developed by the accessories flight, 36th MXS, back in 2019.
“The AFREP Program is not only an opportunity for the Air Force to save and make money, but it also gives us, [who work in the program], the chance to sharpen our own skills,” said Airman 1st Class Samuel Wambuzi, 36th MXS aircraft, electrical and environmental journeyman. “Many of our projects have offered us unique challenges and have pushed us to think outside the box.”
New to the AFREP world, this team of six have not turned down a single request. Although there are AFREPs at nearly every base, Andersen’s program is unique since it expanded its capabilities beyond just repairing circuit cards and offers its service to all units on the installation.
“In 2021, our AFREP team looks forward to more projects,” said Senior Airman Joshua Madden, 36th MXS aircraft, electrical and environmental journeyman. “We hope that we can generate more revenue this year than in the previous years, even though COVID-19 has played its role. We highly encourage that everyone utilizes AFREP and see how beneficial and resourceful it is.”
This program was initially brought to life by the Navy and was named Silver Flag. The original intent was to have repairmen aboard aircraft carriers to fix circuit cards instead of ferrying parts to and from carriers at sea via helicopters. This initiative ended up saving the Navy millions of dollars throughout the years. The Air Force adopted the concept and called it Gold Flag.
The program is designed to help the wing, and the Airmen behind it all strive to deliver quality services and products to each of their customers.