Wyatt Koehler (left) and Eric Dunken (right), Fort Leonard Wood Fleet Management Expansion, prepare a Stryker for an annual service check.
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Richard Hallas, Fort Leonard Wood Fleet Management Expansion, performs service on an M4 rifle as part of a mobile weapons team.
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Kimberly Hammett, Fort Leonard Wood Fleet Management Expansion, inspects a jack stand prior to use.
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Rocky Gray (right) receives a “to go tub” of Petrol, Oil, and Lubricants products from Garrett Koehler (left) for daily use at the Fleet Management Expansion at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
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DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — It’s not easy keeping thousands of pieces of training equipment ready to be used day after day by Soldiers, but there’s one U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command unit of 233 personnel who maintains more than 42,000 pieces of equipment for the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

“We provide responsive, reliable and uninterrupted maintenance on the training equipment [at Fort Leonard Wood],” said Donald Ungerecht, Support Operations Manager, Fleet Management Expansion at the post. “[It’s our job to] ensure that each course provides Soldiers with the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to the mission.”

Ungerecht stated that when his team does their job efficiently, its one less thing the leaders at MSCoE have to worry about and those leaders can concentrate fully on their primary mission…training.

According to Kim Harris, TACOM FMX Engineer Support, the maintenance mission is a critical piece of a Warfighter’s survivability. The team ensures that Soldiers have the proper training tools and platforms in place to maximize the quality of the training.

“We are a team…allowed to think outside the box and be creative problem solvers,” said Harris. “We help leaders reach their goals.”

Harris also believes thinking outside the box is critical when dealing with smaller budgets while still having the responsibility to keep an Army training installation mission ready. It’s also important to have leaders who work with you and listen.

“They always welcome ideas and feedback that will advance the units capabilities to support the mission,” said James Thomas, TACOM FMX Engineer Support.

Like many organizations throughout the Department of Defense, the FMX team has had to deal with obstacles to accomplishing the mission. Specifically they’ve had to complete their work in facilities that don’t have some of the modern technology that would make their jobs more efficient.

“We have adapted our practices to make up for those shortfalls,” said Ungerecht. “This allows us to provide our customers with the equipment they need, without any deviations to training.”

Over the past year, one of the main initiatives the team has focused on is saving Army resources. Fort Leonard Wood’s FMX has used Allied Trades repair versus traditional replacement programs, battery charging and recovery shops, and a hydraulic cylinder rebuild program in support of their TRADOC customer which resulted in $750,000 in cost savings to the Army.

“We have focused on Continuous Process Improvement,” said Ungerecht. “Three of our FY20 projects are expected to save an estimated $27,000 annually.”

The unit’s successes over the past year have earned them the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence – All Others category award and they were selected by the Chief of Ordnance as “Best of the Best” in 2020.

“Winning “Best of the Best” has been a huge morale booster,” said Thomas. “We already know what we do every day to support the Warfighter means something, but being recognized as the best in the Army not only means we set the standard, but are ready to move the bar higher and higher.”