News: Ready to roll
By: Sgt. Erica Salinas
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – The mission for the 370th Transportation Company, 275th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command has not changed all that much in recent years. The soldiers just have a new way of approaching it.
“It is a big truck to [do preventive maintenance checks and services], but with the help of the manual we achieved our goal,” said Spc. Omar Cantu, a motor transport operator and a native of Brownsville, Texas.
He was referring to the pre-mission checks he and Spc. Jaime Melendez conducted over the past month.
The "big truck" he’s talking about has a big name to go with its big job: the mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, has taken the place of several vehicles, both larger and smaller, on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s tasked with the toughest mission of all: moving soldiers across an open desert and delivering them safely to their destination.
“We checked it from all around, through the outside, as well as the inside with no problems,” Melendez said.
The work has not slowed at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, where the 370th Transportation Company is stationed as part of the 275th CSSB in northern Iraq. Soldiers like Cantu and Melendez have had to learn as they go. The MRAPs are larger, heavier, and come with more parts than the gun trucks they replaced.
It makes the job that much more intense for the soldiers tasked with maintaining them.
“We have to make sure every vehicle is well inspected before rolling out on our mission, and making sure every bolt is tight enough is a major part for any leaks there might be,” said Sgt. Jesus Diaz, a motor transport operator and a native of Brownsville, Texas.
He was handed a wrench by Spc. Jose Medrano to tighten a loose bolt under the hood of the MRAP they were conducting a PMCS on.
The MRAP like any other vehicle needs to be checked by two soldiers to make sure everything is good to go.
“We strive for success and make sure that every soldier understands the importance of precombat checks and precombat inspections,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cuahutemoc Martinez, a motor transport operator and a native of San Antonio, Texas.
In class, the soldiers learned the importance of safety and discovered new additions that make the MRAP superior to its older predecessors.
They then moved from the classroom to the motor pool and got their hands dirty. Before hitting the road, each soldier made a special trip under the hood for familiarization with the new engine and its components.
When it finally came time for the first road tests, some soldiers already knew more about this new goliath than they did about their own personal vehicles back at home.
It’s a good thing, too. After all, these may be the trucks that make sure they get back there safely.