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News: Mechanics keep wheels rolling through Iraq

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Tompkins socket Sgt. 1st Class Michael Leslie

Spc. Tyrell J. Tompkins, a Brookfield, N.Y., native and light-wheel vehicle mechanic for 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, reaches for a socket wrench while replacing the gearbox of an armored humvee at the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division's maintenance facility at Camp Taji, Iraq on Mar.ch 19, 2005.

SPC Matthew Wester
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CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- "We've got an excellent crew," said Sgt. Jermane Holloway, a Goldsboro, N.C., native and mechanic for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

Holloway was describing the group of mechanics he works with in the HHC vehicle maintenance facility at this camp north of Baghdad.

The facility provides maintenance and repairs for vehicles used by HHC and platoons from the 64th and 977th Military Police companies.

"We get about four to five vehicles a day," said Staff Sgt. Donald Brannon, HHC motor sergeant.

Brannon, from Calaveras County, Calif., says the mechanics do everything from basic maintenance to complicated repairs.

One of the main tasks for the Soldiers who staff the facility is to help drivers inspect their vehicles to make sure they are functioning properly.

"When someone comes in for a dispatch, we make sure they (drivers) do a 20-point check," Holloway said.

These checks have identified small problems with the vehicles before they become big problems.

The bulk of the mechanics" work involves replacing parts worn down from the rigors of daily use.

"The majority of what we've done is suspension work and steering," said Spc. Jordan Byrd, an HHC mechanic from West Terre Haute, Ind.

Brannon agrees.

He said suspensions, shocks, springs and ball joints are the main parts his crew has replaced.

The mechanics who work on the Military Police vehicles see even more parts worn-out by the demands of missions outside the wire of the military camp.

Sgt. Jose J. Fuentes, a mechanic for the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, based at Ft. Hood, Texas, said the MP vehicles wear out more quickly, "because of all the ammunition and extra weight they carry."

The MP mechanics are part of an experienced crew.

Many of the Headquarters Co. mechanics are Operation Iraqi Freedom 1 veterans.

"Our E-4s were here during OIF 1, and we're trying to cross-train our new mechanics." Holloway said.

"We did a good job last time," Brannon said. "We kept things running."

He thinks his crew is doing even better during this deployment. "It is running smoother. We are a team."


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This work, Mechanics keep wheels rolling through Iraq, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:09.09.2005

Date Posted:09.09.2005 12:12

Location:TAJI, IQGlobe

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