CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - "Maintenance." This one word produces visions of men and women underneath trucks, turning wrenches, grease flying and hands darkened by the viscous substance allowing every moving part on a vehicle to operate - oil. When the 217th Transportation Company acquired the fleet of Heavy Equipment Transports, it was apparent the maintenance platoon would need to become the superstars of this deployment. The hardest of tasks they would perform is titled the dreaded "Cab Off."

These words signify that one of the main components of the M1070 heavy equipment transport truck has failed or is unserviceable. Once the decision has been made and the procedure is authorized, a flurry ensues from the parts acquisition process. Bolts, filters, engines and transmissions are all part of the regular ordering laundry list required. The surgery starts with the partial uninstall of the electronics warfare system. Then the mechanics, allied with a team of truck drivers, begin the arduous task of removing hoses, bolts, plugs, plus anything and everything bolted to the cab. Once every bit and piece is tied off or removed, a solitary M998 wrecker moves into the bay and aligns itself parallel with the prepped truck.

With skilled precision and raw power, a maintenance operator connects and lifts the up-armored cab off the frame of the HET. It is neatly set down on stands for its temporary resting place during the procedure.

Now the fun happens: lifting the main components out of the frame. It is hard to imagine the engine and transmission, weighing nearly the same as an average midsize sedan, being suspended and lifted out of the body onto four jack stands. With precision, the operator lands his cargo on the stands with "nary a jaunt or jiggle." Whether it is an engine or transmission replacement, all components are removed and inspected before being replaced or reused. The whole process is then performed in reverse with the same precision and dexterity as a surgeon closing a patient after an extensive surgery.

The end result is a truck in fully mission capable status ready to haul any and every piece of cargo that Uncle Sam deems necessary. A positive tick mark on the maintenance form is annotated, and the 217th proudly reports a higher percentage for its operational readiness than it did one day prior.

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