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NEWS | Sept. 20, 2017

Watercraft maintainers host first ‘Maintenance Rodeo’

By Tech. Sgt. Katie Gar Ward 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 558th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) hosted its first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Sept. 19-20.

The timed competition comprised of six stations covering the company’s various tasks, including engine maintenance, radio antenna assembly, welding and fabrication, weapons maintenance, vehicle recovery, and vehicle preventative checks and maintenance.

 As watercraft maintainers, the company’s Soldiers possess a variety of Military Occupational Specialties. Teams of Soldiers from different specialties worked together at each station in order to broaden their maintenance knowledge.

“We wanted to have a culminating event to cross-train our Soldiers,” said U.S. Army Capt. Lavina Jackson, 558th Trans. Co. commander. “We wanted to mix ‘back-to-basics’ skills with what each Soldier might do on daily basis. Depending on their MOS, they’ve never done some of these tasks before. We hope this exposure gives them a better idea of Army maintenance as a whole.”

The company organized familiarization and training sessions prior to the competition to better prepare the Soldiers for tasks outside of their specialties. During the rodeo, instructors were available to assist the teams as needed.

As a 558th Trans. Co. watercraft engineer, Spc. Zane Reynolds doesn’t handle a welding torch on a daily basis, so learning how to fabricate a steel bench was his favorite part of the competition.

“We have really good instructors, so it made it easier,” said Reynolds. “Oftentimes, other jobs correspond to what you do, so it gives a different perspective to do my job even better. I think dedicating training time this way gives Soldiers specific hands-on training with things they might not otherwise learn.”

Although this was the company’s first competitive event, the sentiment of both Soldiers and unit leadership suggests the “Maintenance Rodeo” may be back for another round in the future to showcase what an Army maintenance company can bring to the fight.