ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- For the last two weeks, Anniston Army Depot employees have seen a rare sight in the shops -- soldiers working alongside the civilian workforce.

The 1063rd Sustainment Maintenance Company of the Montana National Guard held its annual training this year at ANAD, learning from maintenance experts.

"We came down here to work on things we don't get to work on in Montana. We're appreciative we had that ability," said Capt. Erik Oberg.

Sgt. 1st Class Laura Barron said she is thankful for the depot's flexibility in being able to train the 87 soldiers. The variety of work areas and numerous buildings in the industrial complex gave the 1063rd the ability to place soldiers where there was work to do and where they could learn useful skills.

The unit isn't accustomed to working on equipment at this level of disassembly and maintenance, which has provided in-depth training for them. It's also been good for the group to know the equipment is going into use once it leaves the installation.

"We appreciate the fact that there is a soldier or a Marine who will use that equipment. It gives them a sense of purpose," said 1st Sgt. Jamie Lingle.

Sgt. 1st Class Gary Choate said while the equipment the soldiers are working on is not the same as the equipment they are typically called to maintain or repair, the principals of the work are similar and it provided experience for the men and women.

"They're mechanics, but most aren't wheeled or tracked vehicle mechanics. Some are generator mechanics. So, this is good cross training for them," he said. "This gives them a better understanding of how the weapons systems work."

And the soldiers enjoyed their time on depot so much, according to Lingle, that their most frequent request was for more time in the shops.

"They love how in-depth employees here go," he said, explaining that most of the soldiers have never seen overhaul-level maintenance performed.

Lingle said the one-on-one training most of the soldiers received was beneficial and helped them build relationships with the workforce here.

Oberg thanked the workforce for their openness and friendliness to his soldiers and said each member of the unit who attended training this year hopes they are able to have annual training here again in the future.