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NEWS | Feb. 25, 2014

Welding wisely: Eustis Soldiers save money

By Senior Airman Austin Harvill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Throughout history, Soldiers have always used ingenuity to complete missions effectively while still conserving resources.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army 558th Transportation Company, Special Troops Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) have continued this trend in a world of fiscal constraint by repairing 7th TB(X) equipment at home, instead of spending money to send it to facilities elsewhere

Currently, the 558th Trans. Co. must repair causeways - floating bridges used to transport heavy equipment from ship to shore without a dock.

"Causeways are the bread-and-butter of the [7th TB(X)] mission," said 1st Lt. Brandon Emerich, 558th Trans. Co. platoon leader. "Without them, we couldn't move equipment from ship to shore. Being so important, we know how critical it is to keep these assets safe and usable."

With tanks and trucks rolling over them constantly, wear and tear takes a toll on the causeways. Eventually, small dents become structural liabilities and little cracks turn into flotation problems. At first, it seemed as though the Army would have to make do, until the 558th Trans. Co. Soldiers spoke up.

"We have an entire platoon of welders who have the skills and expertise needed to get the job done," explained Staff Sgt. Ivan Cuestas, 558th Trans. Co. allied trade specialist. "With some help from our sister units, we knew we could take on the task."

To date, the 558th Trans. Co. has repaired about 35 causeway pieces. But with more than 100 left to repair, their job is far from over, said Emerich.

"A lot of these pieces could be used, but we don't want to give our Soldiers less-than-perfect equipment," said Emerich. "That may mean more work, but it is work that needs to be done."

Keeping the repair work in-house saves the Army money, which the units can spend towards more training, instead of repair work. Furthermore, units will have access to the causeways faster since the work is being done down the road.

Maintaining a steady mission tempo is paramount to ensuring 7th TB(X), but Emerich made it clear his Soldiers are up to the task of accomplishing the mission quickly with quality work.

"These guys love what they do, and they are more than capable to see this job through to the end," said Emerich. "Regardless of the demanding work, we find satisfaction knowing our repairs let Soldiers accomplish their jobs safely."