By 1st Lt. Janeene Yarber, 46th ECB (H) PAO, 225th Eng. Bde., MND-BMay 18, 2009
BAGHDAD - It takes great skill to be a good mechanic. It takes patience, attention to detail, and the desire to continually increase knowledge to be a great mechanic.
Medford, Wis. native, Spc. Robert Barber, a mechanic for the 46th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy), 225th Eng. Brigade, always gets the job done right the first time. The mechanics in his section seek him out when they have questions - knowing he has the answers. His willingness to share his extensive knowledge of keeping equipment and vehicles mission-ready, knowledge which extends beyond his current rank, is the reason he was chosen for today's "Soldier in Focus."
When did you join the Army and what did your family think about your decision'
I joined July 10, 2006. I have been married five years. My wife and kids (Haylee, 4, and Naomi, 5) were very proud of me.
How has your family shown their support for you while deployed in Iraq'
My family has been very supportive. They send me [care] packages every two weeks.
Did you get Girl Scout cookies' If so, what's your favorite'
No, I'm not big on sweets. Every once in a while I'll have something, but mainly it's just rice cakes and rice chips.
When did you get your start as a mechanic'
I grew up on a farm and my parents didn't have a lot of money so, we had to fix our own farm equipment and cars. It's just something I've been doing my whole life."
What is the most useful tool that you use as mechanic and why do you think it's so important'
Knowledge. There is never too much to learn as a mechanic and you will always use everything you learn."
What is a challenge you face in your job'
I never know what hours I'm going to work. If something comes in and it's a priority, then I'm going to work on it and fix it. It's a good feeling to know my job makes everyone's life better.
What was the most surprising thing about deploying to Iraq' What was something you weren't expecting'
"Out of all the companies in my battalion, we are the smallest Maintenance section. The other companies have more people in their platoons than us......there's usually only three of us in there on both shifts."
What activities do you enjoy in your free time and what helps you to relax'
"I build tables. I enjoy talking to my wife and kids on the phone also. I enjoy work too, that makes me happy."
If you could have lunch with any person in history (alive or dead), who would it be and why'
"My grandfather who passed away in 1998. I would like for him to see me now, he'd be so proud of me and how my life is going. He was very patriotic. He wasn't in the military or anything, but was a farmer and a preacher. He helped raise me and I miss him dearly."