HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – In a time where environmental conservation has become an increasing priority for policymakers around the world, the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Holloman AFB has risen to face the challenge by becoming the first unit in the Department of Defense to earn a Green Fleet Certification from the Association of Equipment Management Professionals.
The Green Fleet Certification is a prestigious environmental designation earned by only a few municipalities and commercial organizations. The distinction can only be achieved by showing a dedicated plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by way of innovative fleet management.
“Green Fleet Certification provided an avenue for us to be recognized for achieving lower emissions, said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Frese, 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance flight chief. “It’s a team concept, requiring lots of data pull and vehicle adjustments, we have achieved everything we set out to do.”
As Frese explained, gaining recognition as a Green Fleet squadron resulted from a culmination of efforts. To demonstrate their low emission standards, multiple points of data had to be pulled from more than 800 vehicles in the squadron.
“It’s not just one person or one area responsible for this,” said Master Sgt. John Shaffer, 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance superintendent, “we had to rely on information from many career fields in order to show that our emissions met the standards for Green Fleet Certification.”
In addition to demonstrating low emissions, the 49th LRS also instituted a base-wide vehicle idling policy and an automatic mechanism to shut down engines on certain idling vehicles in the fleet. The 49th LRS is also committed to using biofuel on all of their vehicles as well as low-ash oil to bring down harmful hydrocarbons. These adjustments helped create lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout the squadron.
“We hope that as our Airmen go on to newer bases, they take on some of the initiatives we’ve started here,” said Frese, “so that they can become the starting point for the rest of the Air Force to implement some of these changes.”
Ultimately, the effort demonstrated by the 49th LRS affects not only the well-being of the environment but also the longevity of the vehicles. Through being responsible stewards of the environment, the 49th LRS has also managed to increase the efficiency of their vehicles.
“Being in this trade for 21 years now, I see the benefit of it,” said Shaffer, “and I push for those same improvements in every vehicle I work with now. It really helps us all in the long run.”
The 49th LRS receives their recognition with humility, and looks to the future in hopes that they can make a lasting impact.
“Being the first recognized for this in DOD is a huge accomplishment in our career field,” said Shaffer, “and hopefully we can lead the way for others to follow.”