News: Sparks fly in the allied trade shop
Story by Sgt. Michael Selvage
BARGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Soldiers assigned to 2nd Platoon, 514th Support Maintenance Company, 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, provide fabrication and metal work here to meet the needs and enhance the safety of the Soldiers who put their lives on the line every time they roll out on a mission.
No matter what the temperature is outside, the allied trade specialist work with extremely hot plasma cutters, bench grinders, welders and torches to ensure their mission to support the warfighter is accomplished.
Sgt. Nate Mast, shop noncommissioned officer in charge, a Grand Rapids, Michigan native assigned to 2nd Platoon, said their mission is to support any needs that may come up from those here on BAF. He receives approximately five to 10 work orders a week.
Soldiers in the shop have worked on an array of work orders from fabricating bumpers for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to demilitarizing arms secured from enemy weapons caches.
With their experience and knowledge, allied trade specialists may be seen as problem solvers.
“Recently, a unit was having issues with their ammo getting stuck in the ammo can so we made some modifications to allow the ammo to feed into the weapon system freely,” said Sgt. Robert Fair, the shop foreman, a Montgomery, Alabama native assigned to 2nd Platoon.
The shop has supported military units and civilian companies throughout BAF, sometimes just by providing metal to the units who may not have access to it.
“We also help with container repair and support for any of the containers that have to go back to the states,” said Mast. “We patch the holes and repair or replace the seals.”
The Soldiers understand their responsibility of mission support and strive to improve themselves each day.
“Back in the states we really don't get to do our job because there isn't a big demand for it,” said Pfc. Toney Chambers, an allied trade specialist, an Atlanta native assigned to 2nd Platoon. “But here we are constantly busy doing our job. I like that.”
Receiving work orders requesting a second weapon system mount in the turret or repairs to a trucks Q-Net, a lightweight armor solution capable of protecting a wide range of tactical and lightly armored vehicles against rocket propelled grenades, is not uncommon.
“We have a very productive atmosphere in the shop,” said Mast. “I let them know what needs to be done and they do it their way to accomplish the mission.”
The shop does a lot of custom jobs as well, which may help increase morale.
“There are a lot of commemorative awards for units getting ready to leave,” said Mast. “Commands request things like guidon stands or ornaments for someone’s desk and we make it happen.”
Soldiers of the shop embrace their duties as allied trade specialist.
“Anything you can think of we can probably do it,” said Chambers. “Not even probably, we will do it.”
Date Posted:05.29.2014 11:03
Location:BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF
Hometown:ATLANTA, GA, US
Hometown:GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US
Hometown:MONTGOMERY, AL, US
Hometown:VICTORVILLE, CA, US