News: SC National Guard welcomes Colombian maintenance partners
Story by Maj. Cindi King
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A team of five Colombian Army leaders visited South Carolina to observe the S.C. Army National Guard maintenance facilities at the McCrady Training Center and McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, S.C., Aug. 18-22, 2014.
The visit was part of the S.C. National Guard’s State Partnership Program, where the two organizations have exchanged ideas since the partnership with Colombia began in 2012. It was the first time this group of operational logistics and maintenance leaders had the opportunity to view the S.C. Army National Guard maintenance shops first hand. In June 2014, a team of S.C. Army National Guard maintenance personnel traveled to Colombia.
“We were introducing the Colombian team to our equipment sustainment concepts through utilization of maintenance management processes,” said Chief Warrant Officer Five Lawrence Maner, the senior maintenance shop manager. “They are very interested in gaining more visibility of the work order and repair part process using automated systems.”
The National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program pairs countries and states to link U.S. national interests and security cooperation goals. Recent engagements between the S.C. National Guard and Colombia have focused on operational readiness of weapons systems, electronics, vehicles and rotary aircraft
"Every visit between the Colombian military and our S.C. National Guard generates ideas for the next engagement,” “said Maj. Dave King, State Partnership Program Director for S.C. “The Colombians are establishing a maintenance culture in their Army and exchanging ideas on restructuring their maintenance programs.”
During the visit, the team was briefed at the Field Maintenance Shop 12 in Darlington, Combined Support Maintenance Shop at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and the Unit Training Equipment Site at the McCrady Training Center. They had the opportunity to see work order and repair parts processes, job order inspections, local purchase of repair parts, and recovery assets and procedures. They also toured the tracked vehicles facility and saw how units draw equipment, as well as the deployment of an M60A2 Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge.
“The Colombian Army definitely knows how to shoot, move and communicate,” said Maner. “We’re very happy to be sharing some of our processes with them that may assist in maintaining their equipment for a longer period of time.”
King said one of the goals of the Colombian Army is to be able to develop the capability to fix-forward and have teams that can provide maintenance support at the point of use. This would greatly improve their operational readiness.
One of the visiting maintenance Brigade Commanders in the Colombian Army, Col. Jhon Arturo Sanchez Pena, shared their appreciation on behalf of the team and expressed how much the partnership has assisted their maintenance efforts.
“We really enjoyed having the Colombians visit us at our shops,” said Maner. “I think the fact that they invited us to travel back to Colombia to continue the exchange of maintenance ideas lets us know they enjoyed it too.”