DIYALA, Iraq -- Sometimes the Army’s technical manuals just don’t tell the whole story. There are times when a unit has conducted all the trouble shooting subscribed in the equipment’s TM and they just can’t get to the root of the problem.

When that is the case on Forward Operating Base Warhorse, the “go to guy” is Curtis Hardy, Tank and Automotive Command automotive logistics assistance representative.

The TACOM automotive LAR adds a long list of resources in the unit maintainer’s tool box. He has direct reach-back capability to the Life Cycle Management Commands who field and support the unit’s equipment. He has access to the Collaborative Readiness Problem Solving System, a worldwide based LAR information sharing portal that provides lessons learned and fault isolation and corrections procedures other LARS have identified. He also brings years of military and LAR experience to the table.

“I was deployed with the brigade during the last six months of their last deployment on Taji in 2008,” said Hardy who extended his six month deployment to one year. “During that time I built up a great working relationship with the Soldiers. Many of them are currently on this deployment. I enjoy working with the new Soldiers in the brigade and teaching them about performing the proper and safe maintenance techniques.”

The TACOM LAR’s mission is to assist the unit with maintenance issues with emphasis on training the unit’s operators, maintainers, and leaders.

Hardy is a native of North Carolina, a retired non-commissioned officer with 22 years of military experience, and has been with TACOM as a LAR for the past four years. In those four years he has completed three deployments, and is now on his fourth supporting the 2/25 AAB out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Although his job is to “provide assistance” to the unit’s maintainers, it doesn’t mean he won’t be found under the hood or tucked up under the axel of a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck wrecker if that’s where the issue is. Most days the sign-out board in the Brigade Logistics Assistance Teams office reads “Mr. Hardy OAB” which stands for Out Around Base. Every day you will find him, coveralls in tow, making his rounds through the organizational and support maintenance shops offering assistance where he can.

Soldiers in the field praise Hardy’s efforts and skill.

“Mr. Hardy’s extensive background in both wheeled and track vehicle maintenance has proven itself to be extremely valuable to the 225th BSB Task Force here on FOB Warhorse,” said CRT Team Chief CW3 Anthony Canale. “His vast knowledge in both hydraulic and electrical troubleshooting has helped save the automotive section hundreds of man hours that would have otherwise been lost due to inexperience. His ability to reach out to various logistical support agencies Army wide has proven to be a critical enabler and has significantly improved the maintenance posture of every organization in which he has supported”.

Others agreed.

“Mr. Hardy has been an integral part of the 1-21st Infantry Battalion Combat Repair Team
here at FOB Warhorse,” said CW3 Edil Gonzalez, CRT chief for the 1/21 Inf. Bn. “He has helped us resolve a variety of maintenance, supply and other logistical issues. His expertise troubleshooting and expediting parts have made a great impact on the vehicle readiness of the battalion.”

Hardy has provided technical advises and instruction on the equipment operation, test equipment, repairs, modifications, overhauls and calibration of electrical control systems. He also provided us help with the acquisitions of listed tools for our Forward Repair System and non-listed tools through the Program Manager Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools channels and other sources.

As the BLST chief, I gained a whole new level of respect for the LAR system as I observed Hardy in action one day in a unit’s motor pool. He sauntered up under a truck, coveralls soaked in hydraulic fluid and shouting out instructions to the mechanic he was assisting. My thought right then was “what a nasty and sometimes thankless job, I hope the command realizes what these guys bring to the fight.”

These are seasoned veterans with ample experience and skills they could be using in the civilian market, but are instead contributing to the fight, supporting the Soldiers who protect our country and way of life.