By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)August 11, 2016
Without the Tank and Automotive Command mechanics at the Antiterrorism Evasive Driving Course at Fort Leonard Wood keeping a fleet of more than 200 vehicles running for as long as they possibly can, the training would stop.
The course, designed to train students in evasive driving techniques, needs vehicles in top shape to function, said John Sutton, automotive supervisor, TACOM Maintenance Support.
"If we weren't here to support this course, this course would have to shut down or they would have to contract maintenance to maintain the fleet," he said. "It is very important for us to be here."
Instructors and students drive the vehicles hard on a daily basis to the point of causing extensive damage to the vehicles. It's not unusual to see a sedan returning to the course with the hood secured with a seat belt and a few screws, Sutton said.
"With these vehicles, you never know what condition they are going to come back to you in," he said. "You've got to be innovative, or it puts them out of the game."
The mechanics not only have to be innovative, they have to be knowledgeable about vehicles across a broad spectrum of makes and models, including right-side drive and uparmored sedans and sport utility vehicles, too.
Kevin Bates, Antiterrorism Evasive Driving Course branch chief, appreciates the work the TACOM mechanics provide for the course.
"Our maintenance does an absolutely phenomenal job," Bates said. "They keep all of our vehicles in top-notch shape. I can't say enough good things about the TACOM mechanics and the support we get."
By using parts from worn down vehicles to use again and keeping the vehicles in top-notch shape in-house has resulted in extensive cost savings to the government, Sutton said.
"We take any parts out of those vehicles to keep the rest of their contact vehicle fleet running, so it's a cost savings to the government," he said. "We have averaged anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 of cost savings per month by doing that."
Sutton said he loves the job because every day is different.
"This is not the same mundane type of service work done on tactical equipment," he said.