Mechanic Ray Litchenberg (right) helps one of the first people to come back to the Auto Skills shop for work on their vehicle after its reopening.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Mechanic Ray Litchenberg (right) helps one of the first people to come back to the Auto Skills shop for work on their vehicle after its reopening. (Photo Credit: Brandon Mejia) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Auto Skill Center opens for services Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday’s.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Auto Skill Center opens for services Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday’s. (Photo Credit: Brandon Mejia) VIEW ORIGINAL

Getting to know your car. That is the goal suggested by the new Automotive Skills Manager and mechanic, Ray Lichtenberg.

“I want to create a simple suggestion for most people who don’t know their car, let’s get to know your car,” Lichtenberg said. “We got the door open.”

The Auto Skills shop is operating again at Yuma Proving Ground (YPG). The shop is open Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 4:30 a.m. for services, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and closed Sunday and Monday.

Whether its mechanical advice or a tune-up, Lichtenberg’s roots run deep in the automotive industry.

He got his first taste living at Robinson Barracks in Stuttgart Germany. As his father served overseas in the late 70s, “I had the opportunity to go to the skills center and help at that time,” Lichtenberg said. “I wanted to learn everything.”

He would later join the military and was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. “I bought my first car in the military,” he said. He would also use the base’s auto skills center for maintenance and repairs.

It’s something he said he hopes to see from young military personnel living at YPG.

Lichtenberg would go on to pursue his passion for cars. After leaving the military he went back into the private sector to become a full-time mechanic. Before coming to YPG, Lichtenberg ran his own auto-shop for eight years in Minnesota.

Not only did he work on cars, he also built them from the ground up. Some of his work was even featured in what’s known as the ‘Super bowl’ of car shows.

“I have been able to create a complete vehicle that has been showcased at SEMA, to be honored like that, to have one of my builds not once, but twice at this arena is just phenomenal,” he shared. “You don’t just show up to these, you get invited.”

Having achieved the pinnacle, and wanting warmer weather, Lichtenberg jumped back into the government taking the new position at YPG as the Automotive Skills manager and mechanic.

“Being able to payback what I’ve learned, to offer to service members and their families, it feels like it’s a great reward,” he said.