By 2nd Lt. Christopher Gregg, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Armd. Div., MND-BMarch 16, 2009
BAGHDAD - Pfc. Brandon Coyle is a wanted man.
Since his unit, Company E, 299th Brigade Support Battalion, currently part of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, arrived in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with over 60 mechanics; Coyle has emerged as the go-to man on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
According to his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Terry Jarvis, Coyle has become a subject matter expert, and now knows more about these vehicles than any other Soldier on Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah.
Coyle's knowledge has led his peers, along with senior-ranking non-commissioned officers and officers, to ask for his assistance on technical information that will improve the maintenance and comfort of their MRAPs. His primary military occupational specialty is a Bradley fighting vehicle system maintainer, but he has slowly crossed over and made the transition from track to heavy wheels.
"Pfc. Coyle has set himself apart from his peers by stepping up and taking [the] initiative to become the MRAP subject matter expert in the company," said Jarvis.
Coyle's expertise came about almost by accident. According to the young troop, due to everyone's busy schedules in the wartime environment, he was the only Soldier in his unit who was free to take a highly-detailed and in-depth MRAP course.
The MRAP course delivered the hands-on experience that no other Soldier possessed at the time. Executing daily maintenance on an MRAP is now Coyle's main objective, and with the MRAP as the company's primary platform, his knowledge keeps him a busy Soldier.
Even though he is a private first class, Coyle has taken on a large responsibility as the MRAP subject matter expert. He spends from two to five hours a day teaching other Soldiers and NCOs about the vehicle.
Before and after every mission MRAP operators come to him with questions about how to fix parts in the engine, how to fix problems in the electrical wiring, and how to add general modifications to the vehicle that aid in deterring enemy activity on the roads.
"Two months ago there were not very many people in the platoon who know what an MRAP looked like, much less how to maintain them. Pfc. Coyle made it his mission to learn these vehicles inside and out," said Jarvis.
Even with all of the hard work he puts forth on a daily basis, Coyle has kept his sense of humor. "Playing guitar is probably my favorite activity, but that was before it broke, and then I burned it," Coyle said. "I had to give it a proper burial."
Coyle enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 2007 and was assigned to Co. E in June 2008. He is married and his son David celebrated his first birthday in early March.