[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 25, 2008
Training

OPW personnel do maintenance training with new chassis dynamometer

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Reserve maintenance Soldiers participating in Operation Platinum Wrench (OPW) at Fort McCoy this summer are learning how to use a chassis dynamometer to ensure their work is correct.

Photo: IMMA personnel check the computerized readings of the facility's new chassis dynamometer. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
IMMA personnel check the computerized readings of the facility's new chassis dynamometer. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      In the meantime, the unit personnel coming through also are learning skills that would be essential to ensure they can serve a successful deployment.

      Chief Warrant Officer 3 David Clayton, the liaison officer for the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC)-directed OPW program at Fort McCoy, said the Soldiers had seen and worked with a dynamometer that checked engine quality for the conversion of an M915 to a M915A4R2 Glider line-haul truck. The new chassis dynamometer checks the functioning of the entire equipment, including fuel hoses, chassis, etc., he said. Clayton is with the 646th Regional Support Group, from Madison, Wis., which is serving as command and control for this year's OPW.

      The new equipment is part of an upgrade that Fort McCoy is getting to ensure the accuracy of work done on the five-ton trucks, which will include work with OPW, said Glenn Whitehead, the Chief Inspector, of the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA). The equipment has been on site at IMMA for about two months.

      Clayton said using the equipment is just part of the transition Reserve maintenance personnel are going through.

      "Maintenance Soldiers serving in-theater are moving away from the three-level system of organizational, direct, and general support," Clayton said. "It's moving toward a Support Maintenance Company concept, which is a two-level maintenance system that combines organizational maintenance and direct-support maintenance because maintenance Soldiers serving in-theater often have to be cross-trained to do things they never did before."

      Fort McCoy is an excellent location for the maintenance Soldiers to learn the new process because it gives the Soldiers a chance to do the training and ask questions to civilians who work with the equipment every day, he said.

      Chief Warrant Officer 3 Philip S. (Scott) Stoore, the detachment commander of the 238th Component Repair Company of San Antonio, said the unit participated in the cradle-to-grave mission to receive equipment brought to Fort McCoy for refurbishing and seeing it leave in an upgraded state during its two weeks of training.

Photo: IMMA personnel check the computerized readings of the facility's new chassis dynamometer. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
IMMA personnel check the computerized readings of the facility's new chassis dynamometer. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      The OPW mission includes rebuilding the M915 Glider Kit program, working in heavy equipment repair, engine-rebuild, allied trades, alternator and starter shops, weapons repair, doing electronic repair and working in the IMMA supply center.IMMA personnel check the computerized readings of the facility's new chassis dynamometer. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Clayton said many times Reserve maintenance Soldiers don't see this equipment in their home station because it goes straight from the civilian manufacturer to the depot-level, locations like Fort McCoy, or directly to the personnel serving in-theater.

      "The Soldiers are rotated around so they are exposed to all of the equipment," Clayton said. "If they see it here, they will at least know something about it that can help them maintain items in-theater."

      "The training also gives the Soldiers a chance to work together as a group on a project," Stoore said. "This can be important for them when they're deployed overseas.

      Spc. Dennis Bratz of the 377th Maintenance Company of Manitowoc, Wis., said he had been attached to the 238th for training purposes.

      Working on OPW projects is good because many times Reserve Soldiers don't have enough time during a battle drill assembly to do such time-consuming training, he said.

      "This is good experience for everyone," Bratz said. "They hone their skills. They share ideas. And they learn to work with other units, which is important because maintenance personnel often are cross-leveled from their units to fill in the rosters of other units that may be deploying, for example."

      Spc. Omar Cruz of the 238th said the OPW rotation was good for the unit because many of them had never worked on vehicles as large as the M915 Glider Kit.

      "We see these roll in from the units as M915s and they roll out of here as M915A4R2s," he said.

      Maintenance Reserve Soldiers learn how to troubleshoot and repair equipment from their IMMA counterparts. Cruz said because the IMMA personnel do this on a full-time basis, they can share tricks of the trade or help them with questions about the process.

      "This may be the only time that some of us get to turn wrenches (on this continuous a basis) during the year," Cruz said. "We have no choice but to take advantage of this opportunity and learn how to do these tasks."

 

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