By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane | 133rd Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentOctober 1, 2019
RICHMOND, Ky. -- Mechanics from around the state shared their knowledge and expertise with a small group of Ecuadorian mechanics as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP) Sept 16-20.
The visit is the second by the Ecuadorians to Kentucky for training in a National Guard Combined Support Maintenance Shop.
"It's a great experience for us and a great experience for them to train side by side," said 1st Sgt. Ramon Perales, who is a mechanic working at the MATES on Fort Knox.
The Soldiers worked on an engine swap on a 1097 Humvee and a transmission swap on an 1165 Humvee, among other projects.
Working together allowed the military members from both countries to learn how each does things differently in the shop, and gain insight into their respective cultures.
"The language barrier is not a problem; we have some good interpreters here," said Staff Sgt. Cleveland Willoughby, 307th Support Maintenance Company inspector at the CSMS. "A lot of the Ecuadorians speak English fairly well."
One of the main differences between the two countries is the availability of resources. Getting the tools to do the job in Ecuador isn't always easy.
"The tools make the job easier and the work faster," stated Diego Tuquinga, a soldier in the 125th Central Maintenance Unit with the Ecuadorian military who has spent all eight years of his military experience as a general mechanic. "The training has been excellent."
Having the tools to do the job certainly made things easier for the Ecuadorians who are used to doing a lot of the work by hand. But that work ethic helps accomplish the mission and impressed the American Soldiers.
"Working with them is a treat because they work a lot harder than we expected and we got a lot accomplished faster than we expected them to because they have a lot of knowledge coming into the shop," said Willoughby. "They have actually taught us quite a bit about the TCMS on the Humvee. How they do things is a lot different. They rebuild a lot, where we replace a lot."
The goal of the SPP is to develop and maintain security relationships between the United States and other nations that share a long-term view of common interests.