By Spc. J.P. Lawrence, 42nd Infantry DivisionJune 8, 2011
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- "As a boy growing up in North London, Miami Jade always got along with his mother. He could always be counted on to help his mother around the house, whether that meant cleaning dishes or sweeping the floor.
Today, he still helps his mother with her work, only now that work involves cleaning truck engines and changing oil. Spc. Miami Jade and his mother, Spc. Cola Jade, are now mechanics in the same New York Army National Guard unit, the 145th Surface Maintenance Company. “It’s cool,” Cola said. “It’s like having a best friend right there with you in the unit.”
The two are currently training here in Northern New York as part of the sustainment task force for the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team premobilization training for deployment to Afghanistan in early 2012. More than 2,100 brigade Soldiers are completing individual and small unit training tasks prior to the unit’s mobilization in the fall. The 145th Maintenance Company mission during the trainup is to make repairs and providing services to keeps the brigade’s vehicles mission ready.
Miami decided to join the military as a mechanic in 2009. He chose the field because he said he had always liked tinkering and taking things apart; as a teenager, he would fix washing machines and TVs around the house.
When he entered the military, he began to fix the various vehicles of the Army: the rugged Humvees and high-backed five-ton trucks. For Miami, it was an adjustment from tinkering he had done as a child; in fact, the vehicles he works on in the military are his first ever.
Luckily for Miami, however, he came from a mechanical bloodline. His grandfather had been a mechanic, and soon, his mother was too. Cola followed her son a few months after his enlistment, saying that despite her age, she wanted to join after being inspired by the military’s relief efforts in Haiti. “I just thought it would be a cool challenge,” Cola, a fitness trainer, said, adding the fact that her father was a mechanic convinced her that the job would be in her blood.
Today, the two drill together once a month, with each family member working with the other when they can. “He knows some stuff, and I know some stuff,” Cola said. “We’re like a team.”
“Soon as he was born, he wanted to be with me,” Cola added. “He’s a real momma’s boy.”
Miami, when told what his mother said, laughed and agreed. Although working with his mother is often just working with another Soldier, it can also be like working with a best friend. “I would recommend it,” he said, “if you get along with your mother.”
For more information about the New York Army National Guard and the 145th Maintenance Company, visit www.dmna.state.ny.us.