Sgt. Tara Fajardo Arteaga, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
TRZEBIEN, Poland – U.S. Army mechanics can fix anything that needs maintenance or repair. There are 15 different military occupational specialties under the 91 series, which are responsible for maintaining the operational function of all machines in the arsenal of the U.S. Army. Performing repairs and maintenance is key to establishing a culture of maintenance. U.S. Army Sgt. Adonis Glover is a mechanic and shop foreman assigned to the 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
Glover has worked his way up since he joined the Army seven years ago as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer. In 2020, his leadership selected him as the shop foreman, a leadership role within the maintenance team.
"I had just been promoted to sergeant, E-5. Everyone told me 'you're ready for the responsibility," said Glover. "The shop foreman position is a staff sergeant position, E-6, and the motor sergeant position is a sergeant first class position. Being a shop foreman comes with more responsibility. They wanted to see how I could handle running the floor and leading the team as well as take the load off of my motor sergeant so he didn't have to worry about paperwork, admin things, deadlining faults, or ordering parts."
The shop foreman role comes with more responsibility than a new mechanic. It requires the traits of an experienced leader to gain the respect of the other Soldiers.
"My job as a shop foreman is to make sure that everything goes smoothly," said Glover. "I guess you could say, it's like the director of a band or a conductor of an orchestra. I make sure that everyone knows what the plan is for the day, and what we need to do in order to finish. On top of that, I also teach Soldiers in order for them to be able to do their job better, maybe something they weren't taught in school. I go through and spot-check the work to make sure that everyone's working to standard. I try to make sure every failure is a lesson. Because life is a lesson in everything."
Each field maintenance team is assigned to a specific unit, in this case, Apache Troop, 4-10 Cav. These teams become subject matter experts and cross-train on all vehicles that happen to be within that unit.
"Overall, I feel like my role is to keep the wheels turning and keep the team grounded, morale high, and just keep everyone motivated to get the job done each day," said Glover.
In his FMT, Glover has a handful of Soldiers who work under his leadership. One of these Soldiers is U.S. Army Spc. Garret McKinney, a mechanic who has served in the Army for three years and intends on making the Army a career. McKinney is grateful for the leadership of his shop foreman and intends to become a shop foreman one day.
"I try to follow in my shop foreman's footsteps. He's one of the best NCOs that I've had to date and he literally sets out the path for me. It makes me a better Soldier, so when I become an NCO, I know how to treat people below me and treat people above me. So I literally just follow in his footsteps," said McKinney.
A shop foreman is the most experienced mechanic in the FMT and keeps the team on task. Sometimes there's a fault that needs to be fixed immediately, and it's the shop foreman's role to figure out how to triage the issues and move tasks around based on priority level.
"During services, we might get interrupted if there's a critical fault on another Bradley, we need to stop the services to fix it right away so the troop can be able to shoot, move and communicate."
As the most experienced mechanic in the field maintenance team, the shop foreman is responsible for training his mechanics on new tasks so that each Soldier can become more effective.
"If we don't know something as a mechanic team, the shop foreman is the go-to person," said McKinney. "We ask him to come to help us and he will take us step by step through the troubleshooting procedures to fix the issue and teach us in the process."
As a new mechanic, a Soldier is responsible for the upkeep of various large armored vehicles overseeing maintenance operations on a wide range of heavy equipment. It can be overwhelming. The leadership roles within the maintenance team, such as a shop foreman, provide a way to encourage growth within the ordnance corps.
"It's a challenging job," said Glover. "But it's rewarding, to see people actually progress and learn every day. I love to teach, that's what I like the most about being a shop foreman."