The Iraqi Army's adoption of the humvee as a normal part of their tactical vehicle fleet has created the need for expert mechanics trained on the famous truck.

That is why two Soldiers with the 308th Brigade Support Battalion conducted a 15-day light wheel mechanic course at the end of January with soldiers from the Iraqi Army's 14th Division at Camp Wessam.

The Iraqi Army requested assistance with vehicle maintenance training, and the Red Lion Battalion took on the task of turning a group of Iraqi soldiers from different experiences and backgrounds into light wheel mechanics.

Sgt. Ian N. Grant, a native of Clallam Bay, Wash., and Spc. Michael E. Contrall, a Seattle native, both of whom are light wheel mechanics assigned to 14th Military Transition Team, Provincial Transportation Regiment, 308th BSB, were given the task.

"The goal was to take these 15 Iraqi soldiers and train them to a proficient level in providing maintenance on the Iraqi Army's tactical vehicles," Grant said. "Their knowledge of basic functions was one of the first priorities that we had to address."

Grant and Contrall designed the course to build a fundamental understanding of how the vehicles worked, the functionality of the parts on the humvee and how the proper preventative maintenance would ensure the longevity of the fleet.

The result was 15 days of intensive training, with classroom sessions designed to improve their knowledge of the vehicle's components and hands-on assembly exercises that tested their cognitive skills.

Cantrell said that the skill level of the Iraqi soldiers varied.

Some knew exactly what the parts were, but didn't know what they did; while others, such as a soldier who is a tailor by trade, had no experience whatsoever working on vehicles.

"Now each of these guys can disassemble and reassemble these engines as well as any of our Soldiers," Cantrell said.

Both Cantrell and Grant agreed that the training course was productive and vital to the continued success of the Iraqi Army.

"The IA realized the need to keep their equipment mission capable and thus requested our help," Grant said. "Four different brigades sent soldiers to this training course. This clearly shows that they understand the importance of properly maintaining their equipment and that is the exact focus of the training course," he added.

The 308th BSB will continue instilling their motto of 'Pride in Performance' into the Iraqi Army as another course designed to turn several officers into technical maintenance support advisors is slated to take place at Camp Wessam Feb. 13.

"Our aim is to develop this course into a training program that the Iraqis will inherit and expand, ensuring that each brigade will have its own certified maintenance shop," said Grant. "This will undoubtedly increase their efficiency and keep their equipment in mission capable status."

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