Fort McCoy News Jan. 13, 2017

IMMA Allied Trades team forges specialty support

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Welding, machining, and painting are a few of the specialty services available at the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity's (IMMA) Allied Trades team in support of Fort McCoy operations.

IMMA Maintenance Division Chief Jeff Wessels said the kind of skilled labor the team provides forges a necessary link in the chain of support that is crucial to the IMMA's success. "They help repair things that keeps our operations going at Fort McCoy," he said.
IMMA, located in building 200, is part of the Fort McCoy Logistics Readiness Center. The Allied Trades team consists of personnel contracted with Accent Controls Inc.

Machinist Doyle Docken with Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity's Allied Trades Section works in the machine shop in building 200.
Machinist Doyle Docken with Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity's
Allied Trades Section works in the machine shop in building 200.

Machinist Doyle Docken, who has 36 years in metal machining work and is one of four team members, explained some of the challenges presented by custom-machining work.

"Machining might include making drain fittings or completing thread repair on a bolt or specialty item," Docken said. "We complete fabrication of many different things is here — you can imagine how much if you know how much equipment the Army has. (Essentially), we have to be able to repair nearly anything made from metal."

Docken also is a certified vault and safe technician.

"I will get called out when different units can't get into their safe (at Fort McCoy)," Docken said. "I can get into the safe and make it so it is repairable and reusable afterward. It doesn't happen a lot, but it's something we can do if the need arises."

When completing fabrication, Docken works directly with welder Dan Kast to create specialty parts for equipment. Kast described the process.

"If we need to make a part to be welded on to a loader or other piece of equipment (for example), we get together, get our dimensions, make the part, machine out the holes and platforms for the part, I weld them, and then we go from there," Kast said.

"Sometimes you might get blueprints for (a part), but a lot of it is figuring out how the part is going to work, how you need to make it, and then you fabricate the item you need."

Led by painter David Johnson, the painting area is another section of the Allied Trades team. The painting area includes the body shop, paint-removal area, paint booth, and paint-curing booth.

"We'll take a vehicle or a piece of equipment and first use a water blaster that has close to 40,000 PSI (pounds of pressure per square inch) to remove all the paint," Johnson said. "Then we move it from there to a paint booth where we prep it. That consists of any cleaning that needs to be done and any taping. Then we paint the vehicle however they want it painted."

160122-A-9429S-5788 — Mechanic Mark Gegenfurtner and Machinist Doyle Docken, both with Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA), discuss a repair job on a forklift in the IMMA Allied Trades Section in building 200.
Mechanic Mark Gegenfurtner and Machinist Doyle Docken, both with
Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA), discuss a repair job
on a forklift in the IMMA Allied Trades Section in building 200.

Johnson said environmentally friendly water-based paint is used, and IMMA's new state-of-the-art paint and curing booths make the painting process very efficient.

"We recently moved to this new paint booth, which has an all-new exhaust (system to expel paint fumes)," Johnson said. "Our new curing booth takes drying freshly painted vehicles from three days in the past to just three hours."

Johnson said they can paint just about any size vehicle or piece of equipment.

"We can paint anything from big to small," said Johnson, who has more than 30 years of painting experience. "We could fit a crane in the paint booth if we needed to. We can essentially paint anything in the Army inventory."

One of the biggest examples of IMMA's paint work is on display at the Fort McCoy Equipment Park, where more than 70 pieces of historical military equipment are featured.

"When a piece of equipment for (the park) arrives here, they come here to us so we make sure all the fluids get drained out of the equipment, and we prep and paint them for the displays," Johnson said. "Painting is a maintenance process, and those displays are a perfect example. A lot of people don't look at it that way.

"Most people look at it as the beautification of something, but it's a maintenance process that extends the life of a vehicle or piece of equipment," Johnson said. "The paint and primer we use protects the vehicles and equipment from the elements and makes them last longer."

The Allied Trades team also repairs glass, radiators, tents, and fabrics.

"It is something different every day here," Docken said, "But what we do here is important. We're doing our part to help keep troops safe and operational."

Team members also appreciate each other's skills.

"The guys are fun, everyone knows we get along, and everyone knows we are busy," Kast said. "We all work well together over here."

"What we do here is pretty important, and having people like this team available to do this kind of maintenance anywhere is important," Docken added. "You can't keep your operations going if there is no one available to repair and maintain your equipment, and we help provide that capability here at Fort McCoy."

For more information about IMMA operations, call 608-388-7640.