DSTB mechanics destroy vehicle problems
September 29, 2008
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - When a problem affecting the ability of 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion Soldiers to complete missions arises, they fix it.
No matter the size, no matter the time required - the DSTB motorpool Soldiers execute.
Working in the shadows of the Multi-National Division - Center Headquarters building, Sgt. First Class Mark Hopkins, DSTB battalion motor sergeant, ensures all the pieces come together to perform like a well-oiled machine.
"I oversee the prescribed load list clerks and operators, as well as the different sectors of mechanics," said Hopkins, a native of Falls, Pa.
Though Hopkins and his crew do their best to keep everything in order and operational, one big problem tends to surface, causing slowdowns.
"Parts...trying to find parts for dead-lined vehicles," he said, adding that his clerks maintain and keep control over more than 500 parts on site. "When that happens, we have to check different warehouses for parts for the vehicles, which can take awhile."
There are different sections to the motorpool, each operated by trained mechanics designated into individual specialties.
Specialist Gavin Amy, generator mechanic, ensures that generators around the DSTB operating area, as well as the subordinate battalions, are in working order. For him, staying late to ensure safe operations and working with a close-knit crew of Soldiers is a job perk.
"We are occasionally backed up, but more often, on top of things," said Amy, a native of Alexandria, Va. "There's a small group of us, with a lot of equipment to maintain. But the small number works well - it's easier to keep track of things."
Across the way from Amy, another group of Soldiers spends their days working on up-armored humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
"We make sure the vehicles don't malfunction," said Spc. Zachary Raybourn, a native of West Monroe, La., and a senior mechanic. "We try to catch (problems) early, so they don't stop the vehicles."
Raybourn and the other mechanics set a goal of a 24 hour turn-around on any vehicle brought into their shop - a goal they usually - and happily - meet.
"I like working on engines...getting my hands dirty," he said. "I enjoy learning new stuff about my job everyday."
Even with all the stellar work accomplished by the mechanics, little would be possible without clerks keeping things in order and ready for usage.
"We dispatch vehicles and have contact with mechanics on issues they might be having," said Pvt. Lasol Eaddy, an automated logistical specialist and native of Florence, S.C. "We put in and order new parts for dead-lined vehicles, and track the inventory of parts that we receive."
Eaddy credits the people around him for making life in Iraq easier.
"They are very easy to work with, which is a good thing in a stressful environment," he added. "I look forward to coming in (to work)."
One thing, among all the work accomplished in the motorpool, sticks out in Hopkins' mind as the best part of his work environment.
"Seeing my mechanics doing their job," he said. "They want to do their job... they like it. They leave at the end of the day smiling and are excelling at what they do."