Life as a US Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic: The Soldier experience

By Spc. Devin KlecanApril 20, 2023

Life as a U.S. Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic: The Soldier Experience
U.S. Army V Corps Soldier Spc. Patrick Reibold, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from Warren, Ohio, performs maintaining on one of the corps' armored vehicles, Fort Knox, Kentucky, April 13, 2023. Reibold worked with his fellow mechanics to repair, inspect, maintain and handle the corps’ mission critical wheeled vehicles of all sizes. (U.S. Army illustration by Spc. Devin Klecan) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Klecan) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. — U.S. Army Soldier Spc. Patrick Reibold, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from Warren, Ohio, joined the Army in 2020, and since then, obtained a large amount of knowledge allowing him to grow as an individual, and as a Soldier. “I knew nothing about it, and I wanted to learn more about being a mechanic and fixing vehicles,” said Reibold.

After completing his military training to become a proficient wheeled vehicle mechanic, he joined America’s forward deployed corps, V Corps, in 2021. Reibold, like all V Corps Soldiers, holds a unique and vital role that ensures the corps remains ready at all times.

Reibold works with his fellow mechanics to repair, inspect, maintain and handle the corps’ mission critical armored wheeled vehicles of all sizes. While describing the job, he stated it as such: “Simple, but complicated.”.

He continued, “When you troubleshoot a truck, you find out why it doesn’t work, but to actually get it running again, that’s the hard part. It’s a simple problem, but it requires a complex solution to fix it.”

As a Soldier that became an Army mechanic with no prior knowledge, Reibold has been able to learn new things that have made him more proficient at his job since being with the corps. Surprisingly to Reibold, he also learned about the importance of all aspects of the job.

“Of course, I have learned a lot about maintenance, because I didn’t know anything about it at all before I joined," said Reibold. "One thing that surprised me though is learning to be patient. When we fix our Humvees for example, we order parts, and it takes time to get here [V Corps motor pool]. It taught me to be patient, and to make the best use of my time.”

Other than gaining a large amount of vehicle repair knowledge, Reibold’s confidence within his job field has grown drastically.

“Being able to accomplish tasks has definitely increased my confidence. I have become more proficient. For example, I think I am the most confident at changing batteries. Being able to do it quickly in the bigger trucks and the humvees makes me feel like I’m growing in the aspect of being able to execute repairs,” he said.

An average workday for Reibold usually involves him being assigned repair tasks by the noncommissioned officer in charge. Each day can vary in tasks, so the job stays fresh, but familiar.

“We are told if we have some services or unscheduled maintenance, like if we have to install parts, so you have to stay flexible because you might be doing different repairs day by day, and week by week. It changes because there’s so many different aspects to the maintenance program.”

Not only is being flexible important, but Reibold also knows the importance of teamwork and communication. By working with his fellow mechanics, he has learned communication is the key to success.

“Communication is a huge part of our work. With maintenance we get pulled to work on different projects sometimes. You could go from replacing a fuel injection pump and then working on something entirely different. It’s important to let the person replacing you know exactly what step you are on, and what exactly needs to be finished.”

With the experience Reibold has been able to gain, he has become a highly proficient and motivated Soldier. For any future Soldier or Army mechanic, Reibold has some advice.

“You have to be patient, and you might get a lot of information thrown at you all at once during [advanced individual training],” says Reibold. “You might feel a little unprepared when you get to your unit, but you’ll learn more at your job. You have to have that drive, to keep wanting to learn more, because that’s very important. That’s why I know as much as I do, because I want to learn.”