Dec. 1, 2011

Virginia warriors train in Germany for AT

From Staff Reports

BLACKSTONE, Va. — Soldiers of the 3647th Maintenance Company completed two overseas annual training rotations in Hohenfels, Germany in support of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center from Oct. 11 to Nov. 26. The company was broken down into two rotations comprised of Soldiers from many different Military Occupational Specialties, or MOS, including armament repairers, wheeled vehicle mechanics, automated logistical specialists and food operations specialists. Both rotations had an advance party which laid the foundation for each rotation’s arrival and mission.


Sgt. Carl Booker of the 3647th Maintenance Company works to remove a tire from a tractor during the company's annual training in Germany. (Photo courtesy of 3647th Maintenance Company)

“It allowed the unit to get a better picture as to how the Army operates. Most of the junior Soldiers have never deployed and don't fully realize how their particular MOS affects the overall picture/mission,” said Capt. Carlos Maldonado, 3647th commander. “As support Soldiers, they now understand their place, and how important their mission is towards helping their combat arms brothers remain mission capable.”

The Soldiers were divided into three different work areas depending upon their MOS: the Repairs Assistance Maintenance Shop, the Consolidated Maintenance Activity and the Warrior Sports Cafe

The RAMS utilized their mechanics to make expedient repairs on wheeled vehicles belonging to active component units from the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which routinely conduct training exercises on Hohenfels. The Soldiers enjoyed the experience and opportunity of assisting a live mission during their annual training.

“In a forward environment, whether Iraq or Afghanistan, interaction between the Reserve and active component as well as foreign NATO forces is imperative towards accomplishing the overall mission,” said Maldonado. “In Germany, our Soldiers were able to support a RA joint exercise with allied troops by servicing their equipment and keeping them mission-capable until the end of the exercise. They understood the urgency of getting tasks done to standard in order to return equipment to the fight and the importance their MOS has on the warfighter on the ground. I believe this realism also fosters job satisfaction and esprit de corps.”

The CMA is where Soldiers worked on time-intensive repairs, to include welding and fabricating, alongside German local national contractors. The automated logistical specialists were also employed at this area as they conducted supply and production control functions. JMRC also benefited from the high level of technical expertise possessed by 3647th Soldiers. Thanks to almost 60 dual-status Federal technicians in their ranks, they were able to undertake more complex maintenance assignments as opposed to what a standard Maintenance Company, composed of a majority of traditional Soldiers, would be able to accomplish. Sgt. Paul Birmingham, a dual-status technician at MATES on Fort Pickett, was able to utilize his skills to mount brackets for Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System gear on an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier.

The armament shop repaired and serviced many types of small arms weapons. Sgt. Justin Alexander, a newly assigned warrior to the unit, was highly impressed at the great organization of the JMRC arms room stating. “The layout was highly efficient, easy to maintain and taught us a few things that we should implement in our own arms room,” he said.

The cooks helped serve meals to their fellow Soldiers of the 3647th, the active Army, and Multi-National forces from countries such as Italy, Canada, Lithuania and Germany at the Warrior Cafe, a Connelly Award-winning Dining Facility. According to Staff Sgt. Felix Rucker, 3647th food operations sergeant, “Interacting with Soldiers from many different nations and also active duty Soldiers was a great experience and allowed my section to really experience a new and exciting atmosphere.”

As a show of gratitude, the Soldiers found a creative way to thank their JMRC by creating a traditional German beer mug, called a "stein," from scrap metal.

“The creation of the stein required the use of multiple military job fields and really helped us work together better to accomplish a mission," said Sgt. Charles Smith, a welder assigned to the repair section. "Working with our German hosts was a bit difficult at times due to language barriers but was fun and a great learning experience nonetheless.”

“The unit was able to perform three consecutive weeks of daily, realistic MOS training,” Maldonado added. “Proficiency in their field allows them to become better Soldiers as well as making them combat multipliers- their efficiency allows them to operate in smaller teams, which in turn allows for more Maintenance Support Teams to be available and able to support federal and state missions.”

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