JBER Program Allows Soldiers to Get Hands on Car Experience


by Whitney LB Miller

 ANCHORAGE - Soldiers on the Ft. Richardson side of JBER are getting a different kind of DIY training. 

"This is a place I've seen soldiers and airmen use year over year," said David Rychman who oversees moral welfare programs on JBER.

The Auto Craft Shop is a hands on do it your self instructive garage that allows soldiers the opportunity to learn more about their vehicles. 

"It really helps with the family budget when you can do some self help work on cars because it's extremely expensive and nobody is really ready for a big car bill to suddenly come," Rychman said.

Service members can rent a flat or lift bay for a nominal fee - and utilize the shops state of the art specialty tools and equipment by the hour. 
 "We have a basic issue tool kit to check out, metric and standard, and so they can come in and have the tools, have a dry space, have a lift opportunity to use and then our team will come around and give them instruction," explained Rychman.
Glen Keller is one of those phenomenal instructors. 
"It's a fun job, I like it," said Keller.
Keller goes from bay to bay asking soldiers what they need help with, and because he has a wealth of automotive knowledge, soldiers are in luck when he is on shift. 
"First I hear the complaint, what's wrong with my car, then we find out why, what's the cause, this is broken because this part wore out then after the part's ,then the corrective action is to replace that part," Keller said.
From changing your oil to big jobs like overhauling your engine, or even customizing your factory vehicle, the automotive shop is the place to get the job done.
And the staff say the affordability of the whole program the least they can do to help our service men and women. 
"Our goals of my organization do is help soldiers be ready to face their mission, airmen be ready to face their mission on the flight line and part of that is getting to work and having a car that goes from A to B," said Keller.
And a smile that goes from ear to ear.