Fort McCoy News December 13, 2013

RTS-Maintenance trains post units during furlough

With a lack of students due to the federal budget restrictions in October, Regional Training Site-(RTS) Maintenance instructors opened their classes to installation organizations.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tim Pickerill, the RTS-Maintenance executive officer/supply maintenance technician, said the result was a win-win situation for RTS-Maintenance and for the installation organizations.

"Instructing is a perishable skill that must be used to be maintained," Pickerill said. "We didn't have enough students so we had to cancel five of the seven courses we had planned."

Personnel from other organizations on post provided enough students to have the vehicle recovery course and the additional-duty armored course, he said.

Participating Soldiers were from the 181st Infantry Brigade and the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy.

Many Soldiers will need these skills at some point during their military careers, he said.

Vehicle recovery courses teach students the correct methods to extricate vehicles and move equipment that is mired in various terrains. Pickerill said this skill can come in handy during deployments, contingency operations or field training.

Master Sgt. Gary Leamons of the NCO Academy said maintenance Soldiers from their staff took the course.

"We have vehicles getting stuck, on occasion, during the Warrior Leader Course," Leamons said. "The training helps the maintenance Soldiers learn the correct techniques to support our training and any other similar scenarios they would encounter in the future."

Because some of these Soldiers don't come from regular maintenance units, they may ask questions from a different perspective than other maintenance Soldiers would, Pickerill said.

"That can be a good thing for our instructors, as well," Pickerill said. "If they get a question that is out of the norm, it teaches them to analyze the question and come up with the correct answer." The instructors don't just give a stock answer from the book or manual, he added.

The additional-duty armored course is offered to Soldiers in supply military occupational specialties. Even if they're not performing those duties at Fort McCoy, the responsibilities may be part of future assignments so it is valuable to get the training here, Pickerill said.

For more information about RTS-Maintenance courses, call the organization at 608-388-3938.