July 27, 2013
Priority for this, unique highly skilled crew with the 1245th Transportation Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, is to keep their unit's convoy escort teams on the road through maintenance. With attention to detail and a willingness to give their all, to provide the best mechanical capability, these Soldiers take extreme pride in the job they perform on a day-to-day basis.
"It's like a car at home, you're gonna take the best care of your stuff, the more attention you spend on your truck, the better your mission is going to go," said Spc. Joe Stewart, a mechanic and recovery driver for the 1245th Transportation Company in support of Task Force Lifeliner in Northern Afghanistan.
It's essential that the mechanics do their job properly the first time. If not, mission readiness and the safety of their fellow Soldiers can be compromised.
"My job is important to me, in my mind lives are in our hands as mechanics," said Spc. Brent York a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 1245th Transportation Company. "These guys, they go on the road like we do, but they run more missions then we do. We don't always run short hauls you know, but we do go on long hauls with them. Their lives are in our hands, so there's a certain amount of pride that goes with it, and the responsibility that goes with this job."
He continued to explain that the Soldiers fully trust their mechanical abilities and that whatever truck they drive down the road is going to get them there, and back, safely. The mechanics want to ensure the safety of their Soldiers so they can once again be reunited with their families.
Staff Sgt. Albert Arias, the senior mechanic for the 1245th Transportation Company stated, "The most fulfilling thing about my job is after a convoy coming in through the gate and knowing what we do in this shop helps those guys come in the gate with ten fingers and ten toes."
Learning to work together, developing that skill of knowing what the other crew member is thinking has been a great benefit to this maintenance group.
"Two sets of eyes are better than one, three minds together bouncing ideas off of each other and we can get together and create a common goal," said York.
Although, you don't normally hear about the mechanics and the roles they play to get the mission going, there's a lot to be said about this particular group of three talented Soldiers.
Stewart explained that the diversity of the crew is unique. "Every one of these guys in their own way has this crazy skill set, from one guy being absolute fabricator, to the next guy knowing every truck in this company."
He continued by recognizing the credit of the team as a whole. "Us put together, we've got our own areas and we can handle anything."
Sometimes the Soldiers come by with some issues with their trucks whether it's mechanical or they need some type of improvements done on their vehicles. The maintenance group is up for the challenge and are willing to help at all times.
"If we can accommodate, we will to the best of our abilities. It makes us feel good because we take care of people that take care of us," York said. "They are our eyes and ears on the road…So, if it means me coming back here and making their job easier, it's what I gotta do."
The trio understands that what they do means a lot to the Soldiers within their unit. The Soldiers they work for know it's the little things that count and they express their appreciation for all the maintenance team does to keep their wheels on the road.
"That's the best feeling in the world, whenever the guys come up to us and shake our hand, 'thanks for helping me fix that tire', even when their equipment breaks down their always thankful," Arias smiled. "It just makes you feel good whenever they come up and give you a pat on the back."
The mechanics have formed a strong bond during their time deployed in Afghanistan. Loyalty, trust, family and teamwork are just some of the things that keep these mechanics going.
Arias finished off with a big grin accentuating his dimples, "My wife is real supportive about what I do. She appreciates what I do and she knows I am doing what I wanted to do my whole life. I am in the military and I am a mechanic… you can't beat that."