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(NW Florida Daily News)   While Congress goes back and forth over how to solve the nation's financial problems, four specialized mechanics in Florida are quietly saving the Air Force millions each year   (nwfdailynews.com) divider line 53
    More: Spiffy, air forces, Air Force millions, air conditioning units, replacement costs  
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13038 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 May 2013 at 9:41 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-20 01:46:37 AM
Someone was going to throw out $6000 worth of tools because the carrying case's lining needed to be replaced?
 
2013-05-20 03:00:07 AM
Nice job, Gents.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-05-20 08:21:33 AM
This of the poor defense contractors losing out on those $10,000 metal box replacement contracts.

In a couple weeks, the repairmen use microscopes and tools similar to ones dentists use to repair the amp for only $190.

Badly worded sentence. If the job took two weeks of work, the $190 price is less than minimum wage. If they have a two week wait list and the work takes an hour, say that.
 
2013-05-20 08:29:06 AM
Wait! Non union government workers actually earning their pay?
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-05-20 08:54:13 AM
s/This/Think/

I need to make another pot of caffeine.
 
2013-05-20 09:22:36 AM

ZAZ: This of the poor defense contractors losing out on those $10,000 metal box replacement contracts.

In a couple weeks, the repairmen use microscopes and tools similar to ones dentists use to repair the amp for only $190.

Badly worded sentence. If the job took two weeks of work, the $190 price is less than minimum wage. If they have a two week wait list and the work takes an hour, say that.


The $190 is probably the cost of materials.  I doubt it includes the fully burdened labor costs or the cost of capital to run the facility in which they do their repairs.
 
2013-05-20 09:46:08 AM
It's only a matter of time before Republicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.
 
2013-05-20 09:47:29 AM
I'm sure they will be severely penalized for making the rest of the government look like a bunch of morons.
 
2013-05-20 09:52:13 AM

Hermione_Granger: It's only a matter of time before Republicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.


You seriously crediting Obama for this?
 
2013-05-20 09:53:15 AM
Is there a halal version of the pork-barrel?
 
2013-05-20 09:54:08 AM

computerguyUT: I'm sure they will be severely penalized for making the rest of the government look like a bunch of morons.


You mean, the same government who paid to train them to do this job?
 
2013-05-20 09:55:27 AM
So... what you're saying is that the "throw it out and start over" mentality that saves time and money in the consumer electronics space, in fact  doesn't apply to highly durable, custom made or limited-production run military hardware?

Ehrmagerd!
 
2013-05-20 09:57:45 AM
"Staff Sgt. Bradley Cooper demonstrates how he and other mechanics at Hurlburt Field's Air Force Repair Enhancement Program can diagram functioning circuit boards, which can then be used as guides to repair broken boards."

So there's definitely a silver lining here from this A team.
 
2013-05-20 10:15:18 AM

Thunderpipes: Hermione_Granger: It's only a matter of time before Republicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.

You seriously crediting Obama for this?


I think "happens to be" is probably the operative phrase here. That would imply that, no, they aren't crediting Obama.
 
2013-05-20 10:22:39 AM
I'm ok with this as long as they're not working on flight critical hardware.

/dnrtfa
 
2013-05-20 10:22:45 AM
My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder
 
2013-05-20 10:23:34 AM

Mellotiger: Thunderpipes: Hermione_Granger: It's only a matter of time before RepI tublicans call them commies and have them fired because this is a positive story happening at the same time Obama happens to be in office.

You seriously crediting Obama for this?

I think "happens to be" is probably the operative phrase here. That would imply that, no, they aren't crediting Obama.


Some farkers must have an automated Obama rebuttal system in place.  It saves them the time of reading and understanding the previous posts.
 
2013-05-20 10:24:55 AM
By the way, big deal to these guys.  Saving the USAF millions, minimizing downtime for equipment that needs new parts ordered, and giving themselves REALLY HUGE performance eval points for the rating period.  Not to mention the technical skill and experience they are getting out of it.  These guys have wrote their own tickets both in AND out of uniform.
 
2013-05-20 10:28:11 AM
I don't get it.  This was pretty much common practice in the Sub fleet when I was on the boat.  Most of the equipment in the radio room was redundant, but we all knew how every piece functioned to the component level.  Nothing going on and you're on watch?  Fix something.

/I swear our MFHF was from the middle ages
//can't tell you how many times it had been repaired at sea
///probably didn't have any of it's original parts
 
2013-05-20 10:35:37 AM

rohar: I don't get it.  This was pretty much common practice in the Sub fleet when I was on the boat.  Most of the equipment in the radio room was redundant, but we all knew how every piece functioned to the component level.  Nothing going on and you're on watch?  Fix something.

/I swear our MFHF was from the middle ages
//can't tell you how many times it had been repaired at sea
///probably didn't have any of it's original parts


Things are different above the surface.  The Air Force base doesn't need to reveal itself, relocate, and have good weather to accept delivery of new parts.  The USAF has outsource much of its technical expertise to contractors, that charge 10-100 grand to replace stuff like this that normally might cost a couple hundred bucks to fix or make in shop.  Not having skilled workers in force means the work has to go out.  These guys brought those skills back in.  See in TFA where other bases were shipping their parts to these guys?  Easier to spend a few hundred on shipping and parts instead of tens of thousands on brand new equipment.

/Also, if that "brand new" equipment is broken upon arrival, often the USAF has to pay to get more since the contract was written that way
 
2013-05-20 10:36:38 AM

NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder


This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?
 
2013-05-20 10:36:43 AM

ZAZ: This of the poor defense contractors losing out on those $10,000 metal box replacement contracts.

In a couple weeks, the repairmen use microscopes and tools similar to ones dentists use to repair the amp for only $190.

Badly worded sentence. If the job took two weeks of work, the $190 price is less than minimum wage. If they have a two week wait list and the work takes an hour, say that.


I read that as 190 in parts but a few weeks labour not included in the cost. 4 guys working full time over a year with specialized equipment only saves a million dollars if someone else is paying wages and salary.
 
2013-05-20 10:37:41 AM
Sweet, now we can order more C130s that we haven't wanted for decades.

/won't someone think of the contractor constituents?
 
2013-05-20 10:39:51 AM
Aaah, I see they talked to my grandfather. The kind of man who buys (or writes) a book like this:

static.lulu.com
 
2013-05-20 10:49:41 AM
Defense contractors nudge Congress to get these guys reassigned in 3, 2, 1...
 
2013-05-20 10:50:40 AM

Explodo: NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder

This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?


I have many first hand examples, but I'll throw this one out there.  CSB/
Large DoD facility is doing renovation.  And by renovation I mean "Let's pay someone a shiat-ton of money to not install carpet tiles correctly, re-arrange the same cubicle furniture instead of buying new stuff, and 'fix' the HVAC system by just dusting out the vents".  If this wasn't a big enough waste of money, temporary walls and carpeting had to be replaced several times because they used different contractors for each item, and the other wasn't available to do their own work on time, so when the other person did their job, they had to un-do it, wait until business A actually DID their jobs, and then come back in and re-do it.
On top of all this, several miles of fiber optic cable that were installed less than 2 years prior were destroyed.  Instead of pulling the cable from the furniture guides, they just cut the cable in the middle and yanked it out, then threw it away.  ON THE ORDER OF THE CONTRACT OFFICE!  I know I know, it saved time allegedly, but holy shiat!
Oh, and furnishing EVERY worker with THREE (different networks) computers each, with each box running about $2000 government price, versus the oh $500 to maybe $1000 needed for 95% of the work required to be performed.  Instead of a standard box for most and custom boxes for the few, they just ordered standard HIGH END boxes for everyone.  Which will be replaced in about 2 years anyway.

"One thing the military is good at.  Efficiency"
/Said by nobody that ever worked in contracting
//Oh, and tens of millions of dollars of equipment discovered "missing" during inventory doesn't help either
 
2013-05-20 10:59:59 AM

NumberFiveIsAlive: Explodo: NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder

This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?

I have many first hand examples, but I'll throw this one out there.  CSB/
Large DoD facility is doing renovation.  And by renovation I mean "Let's pay someone a shiat-ton of money to not install carpet tiles correctly, re-arrange the same cubicle furniture instead of buying new stuff, and 'fix' the HVAC system by just dusting out the vents".  If this wasn't a big enough waste of money, temporary walls and carpeting had to be replaced several times because they used different contractors for each item, and the other wasn't available to do their own work on time, so when the other person did t ...


The worst is that they waste money like there's no tomorrow on stuff like that, but when you need some random tool or something you use on a daily basis breaks, you'll catch hell for it and wait months before it can be replaced. OTOH, the expensive tools you never actually need get replaced on a fairly regular basis for no apparent reason.

Frankly, I attribute the problem to the buddy system between congresspeople and contractors. The guys who make flashlights or little mirrors to look under cars don't have many friends, but I'd wager the people who make portable thermal goggles spend a bunch on lobbying and dinner so they can have all kinds of friends that hear about how their goggles need to be replaced every 3 months, or some factory won't be able to "create" jobs.
 
2013-05-20 11:13:06 AM
I used to do stuff like this at work.  There were some oxygen sensors on the fritz that cost ~4-6k for the full unit.   I contacted the company that made them, explained the problem, they recognized it pretty quick and told me what to do.   Took me like 1 hour to fix the part and cost 0$ in parts.   After that I had a lot of the other lab owners talking to me about fixing stuff.

The thing was though it was only the lab owners from a section of the company that were tight on capital.  For the other labs that were flush they couldn't care less and were throwing out parts and replacing them even when they only needed a small amount of work.
 
2013-05-20 11:17:01 AM

firefly212: The worst is that they waste money like there's no tomorrow on stuff like that, but when you need some random tool or something you use on a daily basis breaks, you'll catch hell for it and wait months before it can be replaced. OTOH, the expensive tools you never actually need get replaced on a fairly regular basis for no apparent reason.

Frankly, I attribute the problem to the buddy system between congresspeople and contractors. The guys who make flashlights or little mirrors to look under cars don't have many friends, but I'd wager the people who make portable thermal goggles spend a bunch on lobbying and dinner so they can have all kinds of friends that hear about how their goggles need to be replaced every 3 months, or some factory won't be able to "create" jobs.


Oh, the best part is the decision to buy something most definitely not needed, at the expense of not fixing or replacing your stuff that's been broken for over a year.  Some idiot (still in uniform, otherwise I'm tempted to out him) was acting commander for SFS while the real guy was downrange.  Decided that instead of repairing or replacing Lumina patrol cars with busted equipment (one car had no working lights, siren, or radio, and the engine sounded real funny), he wanted to buy several 6-wheel gator ATVs.  That couldn't go over 20 miles per hour.  During an exercise, I had to stop one car at an entry point, and watched this genius try to catch up to him from a half mile away.  Took him awhile to get to me.

/If I were this guy's boss, I would have discharged him for flagerant violation of the common sense regulation
//Or at least placed him on double secret probation, and removed him from a command position
 
2013-05-20 11:17:25 AM
Kick them out immediately

This completely screws up selling stuff to the Defense Department. Which is, after all, the point ...
 
2013-05-20 11:19:08 AM
Somehow I don't think they're getting paid millions of dollars a year for their work ...
 
2013-05-20 11:30:10 AM

NumberFiveIsAlive: By the way, big deal to these guys.  Saving the USAF millions, minimizing downtime for equipment that needs new parts ordered, and giving themselves REALLY HUGE performance eval points for the rating period.  Not to mention the technical skill and experience they are getting out of it.  These guys have wrote their own tickets both in AND out of uniform.


Who hires them in the civilian world?
 
2013-05-20 11:58:02 AM
Trained in the Air Force to fix medical equipment at the component level. Best training I've ever had.

Most jobs in the military only train to replace at the board / system level, but there are still a hand full that go to a low level. The ones that do, provide some the best tech training there is.
 
2013-05-20 12:12:36 PM
""We keep planes flying and save the Air Force money,' said Tech Sgt. Jonathan Ferrari, who heads the program."

2.bp.blogspot.com

/Group hug!
 
2013-05-20 12:23:19 PM
These are the kind of gearheads one will want on a long-duration space voyage.
 
2013-05-20 12:27:56 PM
An APQ-180 circuit card, with a replacement value of more than $11,600, is another common repair.

I think I see the problem with military contractors. I also think I see the reason why several predominate contractors, especially for the Air Force, have pulled all sorts of political strings to keep supplying the service and shutting out other companies which have offered better, cheaper items.

Kind of reminds me of a string trimmer I bought once. Pricey and close to the top of the line, after a couple of weeks the brushes to the motor burned out. I tried to order just the brushes -- like I've done with other electric motors -- to replace them myself.

The company, Black and Decker, doesn't sell the brushes. However, they'll sell you an entire new motor for a price just $10.00 short of buying a whole new string trimmer.

My next string trimmer was Homelite.

I remember something about some college students building a satellite to be launched into orbit with off the shelf parts, at a fraction of the cost other companies charged NASA.

firefly212

Frankly, I attribute the problem to the buddy system between congresspeople and contractors. The guys who make flashlights or little mirrors to look under cars don't have many friends, but I'd wager the people who make portable thermal goggles spend a bunch on lobbying and dinner so they can have all kinds of friends that hear about how their goggles need to be replaced every 3 months, or some factory won't be able to "create" jobs.

Exactly. I read an article where congress was trying to get the military to take about 400 million for a tank, when they didn't want or need it. Turned out the biggest promoter came from a state where a lot of tank parts are produced. He wasn't concerned about the military. He just wanted jobs to stay in his state so he could get re-elected.

I recall the gun maker who made, I guess, the original version of the M-16 used in Vietnam. The soldiers spent half their time unjamming and cleaning the weapon, which was supposed to be an all weather gun. It jammed if the slightest bit of dirt got into it and, Vietnam was a hot, humid, muddy jungle. We lost a lot of men because of those guns, which should have been field tested before approval.

No one was ever charged or disciplined in that fiasco. After enough soldiers had died because they couldn't shoot back, the manufacturer finally produced a version that worked and sent it out.

I recall news pictures sent out showing soldiers in the field having to clean their guns with fine brushes sold in electric shaver kits.

At one time, they were running low on ammo clips and soldiers were ordered to recover their clips during and after a battle. (Geez! That was one f**ked up war.)

Of course, early in the war, a military scrapper sold several thousand tons of bomb casings to Germany for something like $15.00 a ton. When we ran short, the US bought them back -- and Germany only charged us double what they paid for them.

War is a profit making machine.
 
2013-05-20 12:53:53 PM
Rik01:

I recall the gun maker who made, I guess, the original version of the M-16 used in Vietnam. The soldiers spent half their time unjamming and cleaning the w ...

There's more to that story. Armalite told the army: for this gun to work, you need to use stick powder and chrome the barrel. The army decided they could cheap out and not chrome the barrel, and use cheaper ball powder. And.. for reasons not understood to this day, the didn't issue cleaning kits for the rifle.

The AR-15 (from which the M-16 was derived) was tried out in the field first, and it did work amazingly.
 
2013-05-20 12:53:58 PM
So let me get this straight.  20 years ago anything electronic was repairable.  These miracle workers were called Component Technicians.  Fast forward, and we just throw everything away and buy a new one.  So the airforce, in an effort to save money, reinvents the component Tech, and saves themselves over a million dollars a year.  

I guess I don't have a problem with that.


Now, can we get the military to reinvent the Lawyer, so that all those contracts can get negotiated properly in the first place?
 
2013-05-20 01:27:25 PM
Back in the '70s when I was in the USAF, there used to be a program for process improvements. You'd look at the way things were normally done in your job, design a better way or tool to do it and submit it for evaluation. Any proposed improvement that made it through the evaluation system would be implemented throughout USAF and the total estimated $ savings over time calculated. The redesign originator would then receive a 10% cut.

One guy at Loring raked in several tens of thousands of dollars with his submissions, he came up with some fundamental improvements to aircraft maintenance. This was back when an E-4 sargent was making around six grand a year. I wonder if they still have that program?
 
2013-05-20 01:58:41 PM
www.iloveplanes.com
 
2013-05-20 02:14:21 PM

priapic_abandon: Back in the '70s when I was in the USAF, there used to be a program for process improvements. You'd look at the way things were normally done in your job, design a better way or tool to do it and submit it for evaluation. Any proposed improvement that made it through the evaluation system would be implemented throughout USAF and the total estimated $ savings over time calculated. The redesign originator would then receive a 10% cut.

One guy at Loring raked in several tens of thousands of dollars with his submissions, he came up with some fundamental improvements to aircraft maintenance. This was back when an E-4 sargent was making around six grand a year. I wonder if they still have that program?


They do- But no one ever sees the money.
 
2013-05-20 05:08:11 PM

An-Unnecessarily-Long-Name: priapic_abandon: Back in the '70s when I was in the USAF, there used to be a program for process improvements. You'd look at the way things were normally done in your job, design a better way or tool to do it and submit it for evaluation. Any proposed improvement that made it through the evaluation system would be implemented throughout USAF and the total estimated $ savings over time calculated. The redesign originator would then receive a 10% cut.

One guy at Loring raked in several tens of thousands of dollars with his submissions, he came up with some fundamental improvements to aircraft maintenance. This was back when an E-4 sargent was making around six grand a year. I wonder if they still have that program?

They do- But no one ever sees the money.


It's because of Obama isn't it? I know one ever blames him for anything but I bet it's Obama. :)
 
2013-05-20 05:32:13 PM

PunGent: Defense contractors nudge Congress to get these guys reassigned in 3, 2, 1...


When I was in the Navy we were told that the Navy getting rid of almost all of it's repair ships wasn't due to the civilian shipyards lobbying Congress to get rid of them since they couldn't compete either by cost of work, speed of work, or quality of work.

A Navy manned repair ship I was on did all of the work scheduled for a 3 month civilian yard post-deployment availability on a destroyer in two weeks and for a fraction of the cost, while anchored out in the Arabian Gulf. That 'didn't have anything to do' with the lobbying either, of course.
 
2013-05-20 06:58:25 PM
I guess I don't see how this adds up.

If you add up the salaries of the 4 individuals and their total compensation package and other related costs, the space needed to work, the cost of the specialized tools and replacements, the 1/3 OUTSOURCING rate ("213 parts, 143 locally and 70 outsourced to other repair shops," which means additional cost)...

How is this a savings? This sounds like politician math to me.

The real benefit here seems to be that equipment is made useable again in case a replacement can't be immediately found.
 
2013-05-20 07:25:15 PM

dabbletech: [www.iloveplanes.com image 500x375]


It's great to jump on the "engineers trying to fix things" poking-fun bandwagon, but that's not actually duct tape.
 
2013-05-20 09:06:56 PM

Explodo: NumberFiveIsAlive: My first thought was "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit now because these guys are taking away their business?"  Then I read the part where these items were just being discarded, so now I'm thinking "Ok, what contractor is throwing a fit because these guys are helping the Air Force to NOT buy new parts from them?"

/Lots of contractors are assholes like this
//USAF contract writers are usually morons, letting the contractor get away with financial murder

This is true, and most of the specialized hardware is deliberately created in such a manner that it can't be replaced without going back to the contractor that had it made initially.

I had to build a computer system to mimic a military field unit.  We were able to obtain a motherboard with processor and RAM to build it.  The custom mobo was a few grand, but the only thing custom about it was the connection point for the processor and RAM.  It was otherwise just an ATX motherboard.  The custom CPU/RAM unit was about five grand.  It was an 800 MHz processor with 2 GB of RAM built into a special aluminum housing with a connection card in it.  The processor and RAM were standard OEM units.  It was only the custom housing and connection card(required to hook to the motherboard) that were non-OEM parts.  800 MHz processor based PC for $8000...in 2010.  How's that government waste working out for you?


Meh. I built a workstation with a 250w power supply, an Asus P6T mobo, 2.67 GHz I7 quad proc, 6GB RAM with 6 SATA drives, and a GeForce GPU w/2MB RAM in 2008.

For $1400.
 
2013-05-20 09:20:03 PM

humanshrapnel: I'm ok with this as long as they're not working on flight critical hardware.

/dnrtfa


Avionics stuff has to go through a lot of testing, especially repaired or re-worked parts, before it gets slapped on a plane. Traceability's also a big thing, and if there's an investigation, they can almost go back to where the metal for the little wavy washer on Post 3 of 4 was mined.

/Used to make fans for avionics cooling systems.
//But I can't fix my own $20 Wal-Mart standing fan because it's designed specifically to NOT to be take-apart-able or repairable.
 
2013-05-21 12:16:51 AM
I have been aware of this program in the AF since the early 90s.  It was called MER (micro electronics repair) then.  I'm not sure about now, but the manning was "out of hide" from other squadrons at the time, so no real labor cost.

From what I saw, it was all about the quality of personnel.  Since the manpower was given up from the losing unit, they could choose to send people they didn't want.  Some places had a good reputation, others not so much.
 
2013-05-21 12:20:38 AM
"We also found hammers and toilet seats at Home Depot for less than 15$. Sure, it takes some real talent and weeks of shopping, but we're saving the gub'mnt millions!!!!"

Sounds like this sequester thing is really working.
 
2013-05-21 08:53:19 AM
Electronics technicians in the Air Force do not replace boards, they repair them at field level. Service manuals are very specific on what repairs are done in the field and what repairs need to go to depot maintenance. Back in the 80s my shop had a VHF transceiver that took a lightening strike that shorted out protection diodes that were deemed "depot maintenance only" due to the fact they were soldered directly into the rear case. Even though it was plainly justified to order a replacement radio, it took a lot of paperwork and several phone calls to convince the supply chain that it was justified.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was a piece of cake to get permission to modify a bubble memory audio recorder to unkey the transmitter it was playing to between playback cycles. The only requirement was that we had to draw the modification on the schematics and keep them on file. There was also a piece of equipment in the tower that I replace with one I made from parts, a perf board, and a hobby box bought at Radio Shack. All it did was alert the tower controllers that someone on the ground needed to talk to them on a radio frequency they don't normally monitor. It cost maybe $15 to build it, but can you imagine what it would cost if they had to have it built by an electronics company?
There was a dimmer switch in the tower for the overhead lights that went bad. Light switches are usually civil engineering's responsibility. Since it was mounted in the tower console, CE turned the job over to my repair shop since we were responsible for any ATC equipment that no one else would claim. The circuit breaker that the switch was on couldn't be turned off because it had radio equipment on it, So I had to lay on my back inside the metal console and hot swap the dimmer. I would have gone from hero to zero if I had accidentally shorted that line out and popped the breaker.

/fun times and fond memories
 
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