COB SPEICHER, Iraq-
-It was another dirty day as Blackjack Soldiers of the 426th Brigade Support Battalion, gathered their tools and readied themselves for battle. Day in and day out, Blackjack Soldiers keep the Bastogne Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division in the fight. They are maintainers, mechanics, and repairmen by trade but warriors at heart. For more than a year now, Blackjack Soldiers have been keeping Taskmaster trucks on the road to success.
The Bastogne Soldiers recently received a heavy equipment transport truck brought in by a retrieval crew to have its engine serviced. Staff Sgt. Steven Miller, senior mechanic, Blackjack Company, said our civilian contractors can take up to 43 days to repair the engine. Intead of waiting that long, we took it upon ourselves to take on the task to deliver this vehicle to our Soldiers in shorter period of time. Blackjack mechanics knew this was a challenge, but they were more than ready for it. They have dealt with harder tasks in the past and this was no different. “We’re going to plan on doing this in about 10 days,” said Miller. “The civilian guys here can do it in 43 days; we are going to beat that by a long shot”, he said as the four Soldiers began turning wrenches on the vehicle.
Sgt. 1st Class William Adams, Maintenance Control Sergeant of Blackjack Company said, “We recently started a night crew to help get this equipment up and running.” Spc. Caolab Harvey and Spc. Joshua Coffman have done a lot of work on this HETT at night and deserve a lot of credit, said Moffett.
Staging at night made it easier so the company could have their trucks the next day said Adams. Before removing the engine out of the HETT, Miller said it takes 13 hours to remove the cab and an additional 27 to 30 hours to remove the engine and transmission.
Miller said we support the entire brigade.” HETTs, POS’s, and mission vehicles take priority. We’ve got to get these trucks on the road so the Infantry guys can get the materials they need to continue their mission, said Spc. Steven Robertson, Mechanic, Blackjack Company Robertson. “It’s amazing that we have been able to accomplish what we have with 94 people to keep our Alpha company running strong with their mission,” said Adams. The crew successfully removed the engine from its home, placed it on the ground safely, and immediately began work on it.
“It came out nice and easy,” said Moffett. Adams said, “They are a pretty tight knit group. I’m very proud of them. Even though they only got a few months to go. They are still pushing hard. Everything they were taught, they will continue their efforts throughout their military career.” Due to the efforts of these Soldiers, Alpha company will have its HETT up and running, and the Brigade can take to heart that these mechanics help ensure the mission’s success.
Spc. Steven Robertson and Spc. Julian Moffett, Blackjack Company, 426th Brigade Support Battalion, place chains around the main parts of a heavy equipment transport truck’s engine in order to lift it out and begin maintenance on it.