Convoy maintenance team keeps convoys rolling
Story and photos by Sgt. Kimberly Johnson
196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — Soldiers with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, help fellow service members maintain their ability to support the upcoming responsible drawdown of forces from Iraq by servicing their tactical vehicles between missions.
Wheeled vehicle mechanics with the 632 Maint. Co. maintain a variety of vehicles and their associated trailers and equipment systems, sometimes having just a few hours to diagnose and fix problems. The maintenance support team with the company most often maintains humvees, Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles and Heavy Equipment Transporters.
“The importance of our MST here is we work on convoy vehicles and support convoy operations,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Carson, a wheeled vehicle mechanic and section noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 632nd Maint. Co. and a Buckhannon W.Va., native. “When trucks come in, they have to be back out of our shop in a couple of hours; definitely less than 12 hours.”
If a vehicle breaks down and a convoy has to leave within a few hours, the team has to diagnose the symptoms, troubleshoot the problem, replace the parts and return the vehicle to the unit, in order for Soldiers to complete their mission back on the road, Carson said.
Although the service team works to beat the clock, they also work to the Army standard of fixing wheeled vehicles.
“(Mechanics) have to have a lot of on-the-job experience already,” Carson said. “They’ve seen most of the problems numerous times and they know exactly what to do. My whole team impresses me. They are learning every day, but also have a strong knowledge of their jobs to begin with.”
Carson said some of the common problems they see here are fuel pumps and clogged filters, as well as conventional service issues such as changing the motor oil and filter, changing the transmission fluid and replacing batteries.
Due to the upcoming responsible drawdown of forces and equipment in Iraq, there is more equipment moving out of theater, creating more convoy missions and taxing the vehicles even more than before, he said.
“The more equipment that is rolling, the more chances of a vehicle breakdown,” said Pfc. David Cardamone, a wheeled vehicle mechanic, with the 632nd Maint. Co. and a Virginia Beach, Va., native.
Although the 632nd Maint. Co. arrived in theater in April, the Soldiers say they already feel they are contributing a great deal to the ever-changing mission in Iraq, Cardamone said.
Pfc. David Cardamone, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Virginia Beach, Va., native, fixes a fuel pump on a humvee June 14 at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Johnson)