FORT HOOD, Texas - Senior maintenance warrant officers from across several units on Fort Hood attended Caterpillar maintenance training Dec. 16 to 20 at the Regional Training Site – Maintenance here.
Jimmy Lundy, the senior technical instructor for Holt/Caterpillar, based out of San Antonio, said the training week started with classroom discussions about the Maintenance Support Device and Electronic Training Manuals followed by several days of hands-on practical exercises diagnosing mechanical issues in several different vehicles.
Lundy said the training was important for the maintenance technicians who had little to no previous experience with the Caterpillar engine systems to have an opportunity to really dig into the systems and gain some firsthand familiarity working on the engine.
The training was coordinated through the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)’s Support Operations section by working with the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Regiment’s Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Terry Hetrick, and Rich Gardner of Caterpillar, according to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Douglas Evans, maintenance chief with the 13th SC(E) SPO’s Materiel Readiness Branch.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Thomas, the squadron maintenance technician for Fires “Steel” Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, said the training was beneficial for him to be able to gain a wider knowledge of the equipment capabilities.
“We’ve had this equipment in our motor pools, but now we can have a better understanding of how it works and what it can do for us,” said Thomas. “I can take back this knowledge and share it with my motor sergeants and soldiers and improve our individual motor pool operations.”
“This equipment (Maintenance Support Device) will certainly save us both time and money,” Thomas continued. “We can plug in the computer and, through reviewing the codes, we can determine where a fault is located in the engine and repair that part. The alternative would be to dig through the engine in hopes of finding a small issue and if not being able to find that problem having to replace the entire engine. It is simple math; being able to replace a $10 part, versus an entire engine is going to save a lot of money and will save the mechanic a lot of time trying to repair a vehicle. In turn we can get the vehicle back into the fight quicker so the Soldiers can accomplish their missions.”
Evans said coordinating this training for Fort Hood will be valuable for those warrant officers and well worth the time away from their units.
“Taking this many warrant officers away from their units is challenging with all of the competing requirements of gunneries, field training and daily operations,” said Evans, however also adding that the training provided will be beneficial for those warrant officers in attendance and their units. “I believe this training will help us diagnose these engines and save the Army money. If we avoid replacing one engine by repairing it, then the training has paid for itself. All of this will increase readiness as we diagnose faster with better accuracy. Bringing this type of training to our Soldiers will help us cut contractor cost and build confidence in their abilities.”