JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 8, 2011) -- What do you do when your washing machine dies in the middle of the Iraq desert? When Soldiers in the field experience machine failure they call a LAR: logistics assistance representative. They are technical experts who deploy with the warfighter to resolve issues and fix all sorts of equipment.

Robert Amano is a LAR who provides a direct link between the warfighter and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive-Armament Command. He provides units with training, logistics and technical assistance to keep the wheels of industry in motion.

Amano has 34 years of experience and he has to know a lot about many different types of equipment.

“I have to know a lot because I deal with decontamination, water purification and food service equipment, heaters, water craft, refrigerated containers, laundry, pumps, and gas masks just to name a few,” Amano said.

Today, Amano assists the 549th Quartermaster Company from Fort Collins, Colo., with their laundry apparatus. High temperatures and blowing sand mess up the electronics over time.

“These machines are very complex. They have a filtering system so that the water can be distilled and re-used, so there is a lot to know and understand,” he said.

Sgt. Jacob Brewer, a motor sergeant for the 549th Quartermaster Co., is glad to have face time with an expert.

“This is my fourth deployment to Iraq and you don’t always have a LAR. Most of the time you when you have problems you have to try to resolve it by phone which is hard,” Brewer said. “Having one face-to-face is so much better. You get answers quicker and they can get parts faster.”

“It is important to have the relationship with the LAR, as they are typically the subject matter expert for that particular piece of equipment,” said Cpt. William R. Hall, commander of the 549th Quartermaster Company.

Amano is always up for the many challenges that come with the job.

“There’s a lot of stuff to know. On every deployment I have been confronted by the unknown, always something to learn, but we are able to figure it out and resolve issues. It’s good to be part of Operation New Dawn in that you are a part of a critical portion supporting Soldiers,” Amano said.