All ranks contribute to 'Operation Fix-it'
August 29, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (Aug. 29, 2013) -- From the commander to the lowest ranking private, the 168th Brigade Support Battalion spent Aug. 19-23 making sure the equipment 214th Fires Brigade Soldiers need is in good working condition.
That week, "Operation Fix-It," is a new battalion initiative that will happen quarterly and ensure the battalion stays ahead of the game in regards to eliminating overdue maintenance.
The battalion knocked out two-thirds of its overdue services, taking care of months of work in just one week.
"We estimate that we've completed about 70 items of rolling stock, which includes generators, trailers and vehicles such as Humvees and light medium tactical vehicles mainly. We also completed services on night vision goggles, masks, radios and numerous weapons," said Maj. Marny Skindrud, 168th BSB executive officer. "The week also built on the camaraderie and teamwork of everybody from all ranks and military occupation specialties."
Parts were quickly being brought from maintenance and installed, equipment was taken to the shop if it couldn't be fixed right on-site, and anything missing, broken or lacking was noted and ordered. The weeklong aggressive approach to maintenance will pay off in terms of readiness for the whole brigade that the battalion supports.
Seeing all the leaders of the battalion helping out motivated many of the Soldiers involved.
"The battalion commander, command sergeant major, executive officer, support operations and all primary staff were in the motor pool getting our uniforms oily and dirty, so I think the Soldiers got the message that this is important. We are the brigade support battalion after all, we should be the example other units use in regards to operating a maintenance program," said Capt. Janelle Jones, HHB commander.
Battalion leaders want to keep up with all repairs and maintain the unit's equipment because they want the best for their battle buddies by ensuring they have the equipment they need to conduct the mission at hand.
For the serviced vehicles, these are the Soldier's lifeline on the battlefield. If a vehicle breaks down it means big trouble for everyone involved.
With the large amount of generators also fixed during the operation, Soldiers knew that they would have power when needed.
For some of the newer Soldiers, it served as an opportunity to learn how to work as a team and fix items they may not have worked on previously.
"When it comes to training, this event gives the younger mechanics a chance to get some hands-on experience in their mechanic skills and also gives them a chance to teach other Soldiers how to do a proper preventative maintenance checks and service," Skindrud said.
While the Soldiers check and fix their vehicles daily for issues ranging from damaged tires to low fluid levels, problems that they cannot fix are brought to the maintenance bay for more technical expertise. Unfortunately, due to the prioritization of resources, some items have a long wait time to be fixed. That's where the mechanics and Soldiers of the battalion stepped in to eliminate the lingering maintenance issues.
"This operation was a success in a few different ways. We cut the number of overdue services drastically; Soldiers and leaders outside [field mechanical maintenance] learned to appreciate our maintenance company and the effort it takes to keep our equipment properly maintained; and many probably took valuable entry level maintenance skills with them," said Jones.