The drive behind the force

Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Supporting more than 30,000 missions, moving more than 147,000 passengers and 17 million pounds of cargo in the past year, the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron supports all units in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

“We have a wide range of vehicles to help support just about anything,” said Master Sgt. Brian Hoggard, 86th VRS vehicle operations supervisor. “It can range from driving a smaller sedan to a huge wrecker or bus.”

One asset available here are shuttle buses driven by civilian and military members of the 86th VRS. “Our people operate the base shuttle system to support all of Ramstein and help others get from point A to point B,” said Hoggard. “We had more than 6,000 people utilizing our shuttle service last year.”

The base shuttle runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to allow members of Team Ramstein to get to appointments or across base during the day. “I had to finish up in-processing and get a few things at the (The Exchange) and it was a bit of a walk to the dorms in the rain,” said Airman 1st Class Katrina Alvarez, 721st Aerial Port Squadron. “I like to use the shuttle because it’s a faster way to get around and it helps me get things done a lot quicker.”

From sunny one day to snowing the next, the weather here can pose a challenge for the shuttle drivers on base. “When the weather gets difficult, our drivers drive slower and watch out for other vehicles and people,” said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Brown, 86th VRS chief dispatcher.

“The vehicles that we drive are a lot bigger, and they can’t stop on a dime, so we have to be very observant with what is going on around us.” The shuttle drivers also transport aircrew to and from aircraft on the flightline and, occasionally, off base.

“We received new Euro-spec buses to conduct off-base missions,” said Hoggard. “It’s a lot easier to blend in now.” With a variety of missions to support, the 86th VRS shuttle drivers provide Team Ramstein members from around the KMC the opportunity to get to the places they need to be in a timely manner to keep the mission going.