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AFSO 21: 31st OG discusses ways to save time

Aviano Air Base, Italy -- With the upcoming force reduction cuts in the maintenance career fields base officials held a week-long Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century meeting to determine how to save manpower in the 31st Operations Group.

The meeting focused on combining the two aircraft maintenance units and streamlining the 31st OG flying schedule.

"The previous AFSO 21 event suggested combining the two AMUs with one side handling flying operations and the other aircraft maintenance," said Master Sgt. Paul Vergeldt, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. "We would like to try a trial version for a week or two to see if [the idea] works.

"Right now, half our people are deployed, so we would like to try the same concept with the one squadron here on a smaller scale," he said.

Master Sgt. Derek Lerma, 31st Mission Support Squadron manpower analyst for the 31st Maintenance Group and 31st OG, said having one AMU's will cut down on manpower.

"We can't sustain current operations with manpower cuts, so we are adjusting ways we do business," he said. "This allows us to meet the same requirements and keep pilots combat ready."

The AFSO 21 meeting also discussed ways to save manning hours by streamlining the flying schedule process.

"Our idea was to create a master [scheduling] template instead of building templates every day," Sergeant Lerma said. "On average, it took 65 steps to create a weekly schedule. With the master template, the number of steps could be cut in half."

Sergeant Lerma added that the template is flexible enough to fly 19 to 44 aircraft a day.
"After being apart of the process, my thinking has changed about AFSO 21 and I think we're going to see a brand new Air Force transform," he said.