CAMP HUMPHREYS, REPUBLIC OF KOREA-U.S. Soldiers with 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are at the Rodriguez Live Fire Range conducting their gunnery tables for both the M1A2 Abrams Tank and the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Everything is all well and good until something breaks and that's when the behind the scenes maintenance guys jump in and start working their magic.
"We are the support for the guys who are firing the tanks," said Pvt. 1st Class Matthew Chick, a tank mechanic. "And when they break down, were cover the tank and get to work on fixing it."
For Chick, this is the first time that he is conducting maintenance on vehicles out in the field and he is finding out just how challenging it can be.
"One of the biggest challenges is that we don't have the same resources out here as we do in the maintenance bay. Such as, we had to remove the engine of a tank with the M88 Recovery Vehicle, where as in the bays we have engine cranes to remove the engines," said Chick.
A few of the other things that Chick said were challenging were working in the weather and diagnosing the problems quickly.
"Back in the motor pool, we have deadlines to get problems diagnosed and fixed," said Chick. "But out here that timeline decreases drastically because the tank crews have a long mission that needs to be completed in a very short amount of time."
Sgt. Joshua Gaddy, a wheeled mechanic talked about some of the other challenges that his Soldiers new to the field are finding out.
"The heavy duty jobs out here become a challenge, like breaks," said Gaddy. "And back in the motor pool everything is at your fingertips, where out here you have to think outside of the box to get a vehicle up and running."
For his Soldiers experiencing gunnery for the first time, he said they are still getting used to working in the elements and not having a comfortable bed to go back to at night.
"As long as you prepare for it and have everyone in the same mindset to work as a team, we can make it through the challenges," said Gaddy.
Overall, it's about safety and training.
"Our biggest concern is safety, we want to make sure that the crew can safely work their tank and that the tank is working to its best ability," said Chick. "But for me this is a great learning experience."