The Coast Guard has found that new equipment training they received from TACOM LCMC Rock Island not only makes them weapon repair experts - - it helps them save money too.

At the Coast Guard's request, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Salazar and James Quillin, both new equipment training instructors, trained gunner's mates on small arms weapons maintenance and repair at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Portsmouth Harbor, Va., Aug. 11-24.

"To enable them to fix the weapons on station as opposed to shipping them will save them a mountain of dollars," said Salazar.

This will help save money by reducing maintenance and shipping costs that are incurred when personnel send weapons to repair sites.

"The Coast Guard is under Homeland Security so their process for maintaining weapons is not the same as DoD. They wanted to get insight into how the Army maintains weapons and incorporate this into their system in an effort to try to save dollars," Salazar explained.

Salazar and Quillin trained the 14 East Coast area Coast Guard members on operator, unit, intermediate and direct support maintenance tasks. The instructors covered procedures on the M16A2 rifle, M9 pistol; M240B, M240H, M2, and MK19 machine guns; M203 grenade launcher; Sig Sauer 229 pistol; and the Remington 870 shotgun. Some members of the class were preparing to deploy to the Middle East.

"We tore down things that these guys really didn't have any experience on. They got a wealth of knowledge and skill," said Salazar.

Class members ordered small arms tool boxes to use when they repair their weapons. The tool boxes are by managed PM Sets, Kits and Outfits at Rock Island.

In addition to hands-on training, each member of the class had to pass a 30 question test to complete the course.

Prior to the Portsmouth training, Salazar conducted a training session at the Coast Guard Intermediate Support Command, Alameda, Calif.

"The people in Alameda were real impressed with the training, so they passed the information along to the East Coast. We encompass everything that the Coast Guard utilizes," said Salazar.

The Coast Guard is planning another training event next fiscal year in Chesapeake, Va.

The TACOM LCMC Rock Island new equipment training office has 23 personnel with one instructor consistently maintained in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This year trainers taught 319 classes and 5,287 students. They train personnel from all branches of the military including DoD civilians, contractors, and foreign civilians supporting the U.S. government.