Old Utility Vehicle Gets New Life
By Airman 1st Class Allyson Manners, 171 ARW
/ Published July 09, 2014
Coraopolis, Pa. -- Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing here joined together to restore a vital piece of field equipment, the Security Forces Squadron's M-Gator, a small all-terrain utility vehicle. Airmen, inspired by the Air Force's Every Dollar Counts campaign, chose to restore the M-Gator rather than replace it. This cost-effective choice ultimately saved the wing and taxpayers nearly $20,000.
The M-Gator is a necessary piece of equipment for the Security Forces operations at the wing. It allows Security Forces to patrol rugged terrain and transport loads of equipment in the field. It was also used to support the Secret Service on security patrols when the President of the United States landed at the 171st.
It is equipped with a diesel engine, a cargo bed with dump capability and front-mounted litter carrier capability. In its former state of disrepair, the 10-year-old vehicle had damage to the tires and had worn metal parts. It was corroding and no longer fully operational.
The repair of the M-Gator was a team effort, with services provided from various squadrons at the 171st.
The vehicle was disassembled by Staff Sgt. Norm Black and Master Sgt. Wesley Burt from the Vehicle Maintenance Squadron. Black and Burt also repaired the damaged tires.
Tech. Sgt. Robert Brindza, from the Maintenance Squadron's fabrication shop, repaired broken and cracked parts from the body of the M-Gator.
Members from the Maintenance Squadron's sheet metal shop, Tech. Sgt. James Guadagnoli, Staff Sgt. Patrick Hoffman and Staff Sgt. Nathan Price, repaired numerous corroded parts. This included preparing and painting various metal pieces. They fixed the upholstery and fabricated dashboard decals, among other repairs to the M-Gator.
Guadagnoli, Hoffman and Price also applied a special coating to the cargo bed and floor, increasing the durability of the coated parts.
Black and Burt reassembled the M-Gator, returning it to its state of mission-ready.
Once again, members of the 171st stepped up to the challenge of cost-effective and resourceful operations, and succeeded.