News: 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force prepares for 'Warhorse' return
Story by Staff Sgt. Craig Cantrell
FORT CARSON, Colo. – The smell of coolant, transmission fluid and grease permeated the 2nd Brigade Combat Team Maintenance Task Force’s motor pool bays as “Warhorse” soldiers conducted maintenance on M992A2 Carrier-Ammunition Tracked Vehicles and M1A2 System Enhancement Package Abrams tanks.
The mechanics prepare for the return of the “Warhorse” brigade from Afghanistan, and are one of eight pilot programs in the testing phase for the Army.
“We are not reinventing the wheel by any means,” said Capt. John Riley, 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force commander, 4th Infantry Division. “We are going back to doctrinal maintenance that we have gotten away from in the past 10 years."
The 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force leadership built the 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force program from scratch when the brigade deployed, creating a task force of 27 soldiers capable of repairing vehicles and filling equipment shortages on vehicles left behind by the Warhorse brigade.
“We had 30 days to complete a full inventory to figure out what the shortages were and order all the parts to bring the 2nd BCT up to 100 percent upon return,” said Staff Sgt. Cynthia Drerup, unit supply specialist, 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force.
The Task Force services and maintains approximately 430 pieces of equipment, including Bradley Fighting Vehicles; M1A2 System Enhancement Package Abrams tank; M109A6 Paladins; and M992A2 Carrier-Ammunition Tracked Vehicles.
“We’re doing services, pulling out the engines and transmissions, looking the equipment over, finding any damage, swapping out fluids and filters,” said Pfc. William Weir, wheeled vehicle mechanic, 2nd BCT Maintenance Task Force, 4th Inf. Div.
The 2nd BCT, traditionally a Heavy Brigade Combat Team equipped with armored vehicles, re-designated as an Infantry Brigade Combat Team prior to deployment; leaving all armored vehicles behind.
“We trained as a heavy BDE, then parked our Tanks and Bradley’s and went back to war as a light unit,” said Riley.
Units traditionally leave the vehicles behind to be repaired by a fleet of civilian contractors, but now with the pilot program the maintenance is left to Army trained mechanics to get the job done, said Riley.
“The objective of the maintenance task force is to take back ownership of military vehicles and to improve skill sets of Soldiers,” said Riley.
“The task force prioritizes maintenance on vehicles, allowing an hour for lunch, a 15-minute break in the afternoon, and end the workday at 5:30 p.m. to attain maximum productivity,” said Coderre. “A typical Army unit gets 50 percent production out of a normal Soldier, here we get 90 percent production time.”
The 2nd BCT is scheduled to return from Afghanistan in the coming months. Following their reintegrating they will be issued their armored vehicles and begin to train again as a Heavy BCT.
“I would like to see a successful first gunnery where maintenance is not a factor in planning,” said Riley. “After that I would like to see units picking up where we left off.”