By Spc. Dustin Gautney, 2nd HBCT Public AffairsMarch 12, 2010
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq - During World War II, the first generation of young men who grew up in a modern industrial society were seen on the battlefield. They were a fighting force of thinkers, risk-takers, problem-solvers, and day-dreamers. They were a generation that improvised and adapted technology to the battlefield. It is these same skill-sets that drive modern-day Soldiers to overcome obstacles.
For two Soldiers from 1st "Desert Rogue" Battalion, 64th Armor, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, their ingenuity helped make the configuration for a battery box for the forward observer's long-range scope more efficient.
"Our command asked who could weld, so that's how I ended up here," said Pfc. Chad Loskota, who prior to joining the U.S. Army used to fabricate and weld parts for off-road racing in his hometown of Lancaster, Calif.
Working outside of their military occupation specialty is nothing new to Soldiers deployed to Iraq. With the U.S. military shifting focus from combat operations to stability and training of local national forces, many units such as the Forward Support Company of the Desert Rogues find Soldiers within their ranks with special skills and talent.
"We're both actually Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanics; however, when our command needed welders we both just volunteered," said Pfc. Andrew Lamar, from Coosbay, Oregon.
Private First Class Loskota and Pfc. Lamar make up the two-man welding team deemed the 'dream team' because of their ingenuity and ability to fabricate nearly anything asked of them.
"Recently we were asked to build something that can hold the battery box for the forward observers vehicle's long-range scope," said Pfc. Loskota. "The problem with the current design was that the box was just held in place with two straps in the back of the vehicle, up against the tire well."
Sometimes the straps would come loose when moving equipment in and out of the vehicle and causing the battery box to get knocked out of the vehicle. Because the battery box was strapped down, this created the problem of not being able to access the batteries inside of the casing. There were also heating issues with the battery case being sandwiched against the tire well.
"We were asked to design someway to have the battery case bolted to the vehicle yet allow easy access to it as well as somehow allow more room around the casing to solve overheating concerns," said Pfc. Lamar.
Only needing 30 minutes to draw up an initial design, the "dream team" quickly fabricated a design superior to the original.
"It really didn't take very long for us to come up with something for the battery case that far exceeded the original, so much so that the Army is looking at the design to implement it throughout the U.S. military," said Pfc. Loskota.
At first, both Pfc. Loskota and Pfc. Lamar did not think too much about the design until the Desert Rogue command liked the design so much that they presented the design to the Army ideas team for use throughout the fighting force.
"Whether or not the Army uses the idea and purchases the patent to it was not our intent," said Pfc. Loskota. "We just think that it is great the Army likes the design enough to use it on all of their forward observation vehicles.
"We just want to do our part to help make other Soldiers jobs easier and safer."