[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          July 24, 2009
Training

Operation Platinum Wrench Soldiers support installation maintenance mission

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

Maintenance Soldiers participating in Operation Platinum Wrench (OPW) at Fort McCoy are learning and/or improving their skills and helping the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA), Equipment Concentration Site (ECS)-67 and Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance staff meet equipment readiness objectives, as well. The program is running from June through September.

Photo: Spc. Cody Halcom of the 233rd Maintenance Company and Dean Yenter of the IMMA work on refurbishing diesel injection pumps as part of Operation Platinum Wrench. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Spc. Cody Halcom of the 223rd Maintenance Company and Dean Yenter of the IMMA work on refurbishing diesel injection pumps as part of Operation Platinum Wrench.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)

OPW is a U.S. Army Reserve Command-directed program designed to give maintenance Soldiers hands-on experience repairing and maintaining equipment and vehicles, said Master Sgt. Barry McGuire of the 646th Regional Support Group of Madison, Wis. The 646th is providing command-and-control of OPW at Fort McCoy. Similar OPW programs also are occurring at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Fort Dix, N.J., and Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa..

"Maintenance Soldiers do all their combat and warrior training during their training at home station," McGuire said. "Once a year they get to do the hands-on training here (or at another site that offers OPW). The units often rotate among the installations participating in OPW so they get different perspectives."

At Fort McCoy, the Soldiers rebuild and repair engines on vehicles and equipment at IMMA. Vehicles the Soldiers work on include palletized load systems, trucks and Humvees, McGuire said. The Soldiers also run the cannibalization point at IMMA to salvage usable parts, such as engines and transmissions from older vehicles/equipment, to complete the repair of other equipment/vehicles.

The maintenance Soldiers also worked on the wide array of vehicles and equipment at ECS to support that mission, he said. The Soldiers sharpened their skills about tracked vehicles by supporting the RTS-Maintenance mission, as well.

"The Soldiers learn a lot from the experienced staff and work force at those locations," McGuire said.

Capt. Thomas Schuerman, commander of the 223rd Maintenance Company, with headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas, and detachments in Texas and Oklahoma, said the OPW program gives maintenance Soldiers in the unit a complete experience with a repair, refurbish, salvage and maintenance mission.

"We brought a few more Soldiers than required for the mission, and installation personnel found work for them," Schuerman said. "We got a lot of people trained in their military occupational specialties (MOS)."

The training also fit well into the unit’s Army Force Generation schedule, as this is the year unit members would work on their MOS skills, he said.


"The key to the mission is the personnel are working on their individual skills. Each individual is getting training in their own MOS."

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Arndt,
223rd Maintenance Company

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mark Simmons and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Arndt, both of the 223rd, said the detachments of the 223rd are spread over a radius of several hundred miles in the two states so it is important when they all can train together at one site.

"The key to the mission is the personnel are working on their individual skills," Arndt said. "Each individual is getting training in their own MOS."

Sgt. Quincy Frierson, a maintenance supervisor with the 223rd Fort Sill, Okla., detachment, said the OPW program offered a chance to do maintenance work on a day-to-day basis.

"The IMMA staff was helpful and they knew their stuff," Frierson said. "We’ll take what we learned back to the unit."

Sgt. Elmer Floyd, a mechanic with the 223rd Bartlesville, Okla., detachment, said he appreciated working with the chassis dynamometer.

"We worked on engines back in the home unit but never this in-depth," Floyd said. "The dynamometer shows you the inner workings of engines."

Spc. Fernando Meza, generator/mechanic with the 223rd Fort Sill detachment, said he had seen the military version of the generators he was working on so it was good to learn how to work on the civilian versions.

"The generators are pretty similar although they have different characteristics," Meza said. "It was good to learn about the civilian generators" because unit personnel might have to deal with those, too.

 

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