BAGHDAD - During Sgt. Jason Peura's seven year career in the Army, the Soldier with the 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 225th Engineer Brigade, Soldier has certainly embraced the Engineer mantra: "Essayons!" or "Let us Try!"

With more than 50 pieces of rolling stock in the company's war-tested fleet and only seven mechanics to maintain them, Peura, a light-wheeled mechanic from Montgomery, Ill., has kept a frenzied pace to sustain the operational readiness rates required to support construction missions over the past 12 months.

"He is one the strongest mechanics in the battalion; he has to be, there are only like five mechanics down there," stated 1st Lt. Michael Cirillo, executive officer, Company A, 46th ECB (H).

In the last three months, Sgt. Peura provided combat maintenance support on over 15 movements across Baghdad. Due to the harsh conditions like extreme heat and sandstorms, maintaining heavy equipment in itself is a challenge. The dust wreaks havoc on hydraulic cylinders and the air conditioners require regular charging. In one of the most harrowing missions, he assisted with changing a blown trailer tire after midnight in a particularly precarious neighborhood.

Another time, Peura recovered a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle that had become entrenched in the mire after the road collapsed underneath it. He humbly shrugged off praise of his extraordinary personal effort to keep missions rolling as, "just doing his job."

A former high school baseball and football standout, Sgt. Peura relies heavily on the lessons he learned from playing sports.

"You have to know how to work as a team," Peura wisely summarized.

When he re-enlisted earlier this month, Sgt. Peura smiled faintly when he was referred to as the future of the non-commissioned officer corps.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16