By 2nd Lt. Nicholas TaylorJuly 26, 2016
Maintenance Soldiers from Forward Support Company H, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, put their skills to the test for "Maintenance Table VI," from May 23 to 26 at Z, South Korea.
The "Table VI" in the name is an allusion to one of the key gunnery certification exercises that Soldiers undergo in M2A3 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, since maintenance is key to the success of maneuver elements.
"As a maintenance platoon, there's often other things that need to get done and training can sometimes be difficult to fit in, but my troopers really got behind it and attacked it with a positive attitude," said 2nd Lt. Nicholas Taylor, platoon leader, FSC H. "I think that attitude allowed them to learn a lot and get a lot out of the training."
Beginning with a written exam, then evaluating various equipment and vehicle systems to find pre-staged faults and concluding with recovery operations on a tracked and a wheeled vehicle, Soldiers were tested on many aspects of their job.
The questions in the exam were based on general maintenance topics that are standard across all military occupational specialties, such as preventative maintenance checks and services, the Army oil analysis program, and the different classes of leaks.
Noncommissioned officers took a separate and more in-depth version of the exam, which focused on maintenance procedures and processes that would be expected of someone with more experience.
On the second day of testing, Soldiers got a chance to get their hands on the equipment. Following the correct troubleshooting procedures, maintenance specialists had to find five pre-staged faults on equipment and vehicles ranging from common electrical generators to the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier.
Troopers were graded for safety, procedure, and how well they used procedures and technical manuals for different maintenance systems. For many members of the maintenance platoon, it was their first time working on equipment outside of their own specialties.
"I thought it was cool how different Soldiers of different MOS's got to work on stuff they don't usually get to," said Spc. Ronald Cleveland, a Bradley fighting vehicle system maintainer for FSC H, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Reg. "Generator mechanics got to work on wheeled vehicles and 'tracks,' which they've never done before."
On the last day of maintenance challenge, the 26 Soldiers split into three teams to compete in two different recovery missions.
The first mission was using a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck wrecker's retrieval system to recover a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle. The second mission was to recover an Abrams tank using the primary winch on a M88 Armored Recovery Vehicle.
"We got to see where each Soldier stood and the knowledge they have with the equipment," said Sgt. Aimon McNeilly, a wheeled vehicle mechanic for FSC H, 2nd Bn., 5th Cav. Reg.
Troopers in both groups had to work as a team, led by noncommissioned officers from their squads, to set up the systems in a safe and efficient manner. The maintenance platoon will conduct their final step in the platoon validation process, "Maintenance Table XII," in August.
"It was a good experience for everyone," said Cleveland. "I honestly don't think any of the people who participated in the event have done it before."