News: Mechanic becomes specialized expert in four months
By 1st Lt. Seth P. Church
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Before arriving in Iraq, Pfc. Eric Dewitt, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 632nd Maintenance Company, 110th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), had never performed an engine replacement, removed a vehicle cab, or even changed a transmission.
Dewitt, a Vernonia, Ore., native, currently stationed at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, spent most of his time in the states performing vehicle services at Ft. Stewart, Ga., in preparation for the deployment. Now, in just a four month span, Dewitt is considered by his peers to be one of the best automotive mechanics available.
His improvement in such a short amount of time has greatly impressed his chain of command.
“He’s taking the maintenance allocation chart for removing a [Heavy Equipment Transporter] cab, which is around six to eight hours, and getting it done in four hours,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert Devinney, a senior automotive maintenance technical expert from the 632nd Maint. Company, and a New York, N.Y., native. “He went from no experience with this piece of equipment to being one of the best.”
Devinney thinks there is another reason for such improvement.
“He has a lot of drive and motivation, and I think that plays a bigger part,” said Devinney.
When asked about his experience in the automotive maintenance shop, Dewitt added that he loves his job and that he feels like he is doing something worthwhile. He is also grateful for the non-commissioned officers and civilian contractors who continue to teach him.
“I never thought I’d know how to do what I can do now,” said Dewitt.. “It looks daunting to tear these engines apart, but now it’s not a big deal.”
Dewitt specializes in swapping HET power packs, cab removal, and installation., and occasionally performs maintenance on the mine resistant ambush protected vehicle as well.