Fort McCoy News January 09, 2015

RTS-Maintenance course certifies inspectors

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Seventeen military and civilian maintenance inspectors from installations Armywide further built on their inspection skills as part of a course at Fort McCoy's Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance facility.

Photo for RTS-Maintenance article
Sgt. 1st Class Troy Boardman, course instructor for the Maintenance Inspector Certification and Classification Course at Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance, covers a topic in class at the Fort McCoy RTS-Maintenance facility.

The four-day Maintenance Inspector Certification and Classification Course at RTS-Maintenance is designed for inspectors who support Army equipment concentration sites (ECS), area maintenance support activities and installation support units (ISU).

According to the Army Training Requirements and Resources System, course students learn standards for Army maintenance inspection and classification. They also learn procedures that includes accurately coding and classifying equipment using applicable Army forms, regulations, the Maintenance Expenditure List (MEL) and more.

"We teach the students many different things, but one of the most important subjects we teach is how to code and classify excess Army equipment in the MEL that is past its longevity for maintenance," said Course Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Troy Boardman. "To do this, it requires a lot of work referencing forms, regulations, guidance and more."

Army Regulation 750-1, Maintenance of Supplies and Equipment — Army Materiel Maintenance Policy, is one of the regulations used for reference in the course. From that regulation, students learn more about completing a technical inspection (TI) and an estimated cost of damage (ECOD) on a piece of equipment.

A TI is performed to verify serviceability, determine the economic reparability of the item, or determine the ECOD.

"We spend a lot of time going over how to do an ECOD," Boardman said. "Completing an ECOD is basically the beginning of an investigation. Because the damage to the (Army) equipment is usually from an accident, it's important to know what to look for and how to complete the process."

Sgt. 1st Class Wayne Decker, a Reserve Soldier who also is a civilian inspector for ECS 151 at Fort Rucker, Ala., attended the course for recertification. He said since he first attended the course four years ago, it has helped him be better prepared.

"Back in 2011, I had to do several ECODs for my unit when we were deployed to Iraq," Decker said. "This training helped with that effort."

Decker added the training is especially important for first-time students.

"It's important (for the) younger inspectors who have been in the Army for six to 10 years, have become inspectors and haven't been at a level to do an ECOD," Decker said.

"If they get deployed somewhere like Iraq or Afghanistan and a piece of equipment gets damaged, (the training) helps them understand how to do the paperwork and get it done correctly the first time."

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Fenton is a first-time student in the course from Camp Atterbury, Ind., where he works as the maintenance noncommissioned officer (NCO) in charge at the Atterbury ISU for the Indiana National Guard. He said learning more about the ECOD process, the MEL and other aspects will help him become better at completing his work.

"At the shop where I work, we've had a lot of ECODs we've had to complete in the past, but I've had inspectors who have done that," Fenton said.

"By attending this course, it's going to enable me to do (the inspections) when the inspectors aren't available to do them."
Fenton said the training also will help him build on his skills he has learned in the Army over his career.

"Being a mechanic my entire military career, all I've known is how to work on vehicles and how to fix them," Fenton said.

"As an E-7 now, I'm learning more about the administrative side of my career field. This training helps me get to where I need to be as a senior NCO."

Boardman said he enjoys teaching and passing on information he has learned.

"I like this because I am also an inspector with my civilian job (at ECS 67)," Boardman said.

"I've done a lot of work with classifications and ECODs on equipment, so by instructing the course I am able to give out information that I have learned, and help others better understand the inspection process."

During the four-day course, three days were spent in the classroom and one day at Fort McCoy's ECS 67 to put what they learned into practice on a damaged piece of equipment. Upon completion, students were awarded certification as a maintenance inspector.

Overall, RTS-Maintenance trains Soldiers in a host of courses that also include Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, Wheeled Vehicle Recovery, Standard Army Maintenance System — Enhanced, and more.

The organization has multiple training facilities, including nine classrooms that are fully-equipped with the latest in digital and computer-based audiovisual equipment, as well as field training sites with mire pits for vehicle recovery training.

For more information about RTS-Maintenance, call 608-388-3938, or email them at DIT080RTS-MMcCoy@usar.army.mil.