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New Robins general explains why the future is bright

Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, new commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, speaks to the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Aereospace Industry Committee at the Museum of Aviation.
Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, new commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, speaks to the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Aereospace Industry Committee at the Museum of Aviation. bcabell@macon.com

The maintenance area at Robins Air Force Base exceeded its aircraft production goal in the past fiscal year.

Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, who took command of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex on Aug. 9, said Thursday that in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 the unit worked on 182 aircraft. It was scheduled to work on 179. He also said the base exceeded production goals in all areas of commodities, which are the aircraft parts and software repaired and maintained at the base.

He said it marked the second year in a row that the complex met its key production goals. He also said the base spent $119 million less than planned to achieve that work.

“If we were a business, you all would be investing in our business right now,” he said. “The business is good.”

He made that comment at a meeting of the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Industry Committee held at the Museum of Aviation.

He painted a rosy picture of the long-term future of the base, noting the Air Force is relying on the older aircraft that are maintained at Robins and will continue to do so for decades to come.

He also said the complex has shown a big improvement in limiting mishaps that cause injuries and damage property. Property damage is down 65 percent and personal injuries are down 50 percent. For the first time anyone can remember, he said, the complex has met industry standards in key safety statistics.

“People five, 10 years ago never thought that would be possible that the complex would meet industry standards in our key safety metrics,” he said.

American Federation of Government Employees Local 987, which represents maintenance workers at Robins, was taken over earlier this year by the national union. Kubinec said after the meeting that relations with the trusteeship so far has been good and he does not expect production to sag as a result of internal issues with the union.

“We will continue to work in close partnership with our union to ensure that the warfighters have the products they need,” he said.

Kubinec said the base is looking to hire about 300 aircraft mechanics and engineers. Base representatives Friday will be at Macon’s Boeing plant, which is closing, to recruit some of those workers.

Kubinec previously served at Robins as vice commander of what was then called the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. In 2012, the center was dissolved to consolidate management of heavy maintenance under the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.

That move eliminated the two-star general job at Robins, which Kubinec noted caused considerable concern here. However, he said, the consolidation has turned out to be good for Robins as well as the Air Force’s other two depot maintenance complexes at Tinker and Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Consolidation has standardized the production process at the three complexes, he said, which means workers are not having to learn new ways of doing things every two years when a new commander comes along. Kubinec said that has improved production at all three depots.

“If you go out to Hill and Tinker and see what they are doing, then you come here, you will see that we are doing the same thing,” he said. “We are all rising together. And I tell you what, we have to. Our nation needs us more than ever. We have the smallest Air Force we have ever had and the oldest fleet we have ever had.”

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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