By Cheryl Dilgard
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – The motor pool doesn't have down time.
J-4 motor pool assigns all vehicles to Joint Task Force personnel. If you are part of JTF and have a ride to work, chances are you have someone in J-4 motor pool to thank.
The motor pool is made up of three JTF soldiers from the New Mexico Army National Guard and one civilian. The officer in charge, 1st Lt. Shane Lauritzen, non-commissioned officer in charge Tommy Benavidez, and Spc. Griselda Rivera, along with Judy Balch, make up the motor pool team. All vehicles are logged into a Unit Level Logistics System-Ground, a tracking system that monitors all JTF vehicles during their operational life.
"The ULLS-G helps us track vehicles through dispatch. We use it to create work orders, and then tracks the vehicles while they are at Bremcor for repairs," said Spc. Griselda Rivera.
Rivera's job with motor pool is almost endless. Besides tracking vehicles through ULLS-G, she maintains and schedules regular maintenance, prints monthly reports and issues licenses.
"My biggest challenge in this position is to keep everything running," she said. "It is a trial just staying on top of things and making sure ULLS-G is running at its highest standard."
Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Benavidez, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the motor pool, has extensive responsibilities. Along with assisting Rivera in tasks such as scheduling routine maintenance, he is also accountable for managing all accidents involving JTF vehicles and ensuring equipment is turned in and taken care of in a timely manner. When JTF needs a bus for distinguished visitors or newcomers' briefs, it is Benavidez that arranges the availability and schedules that.
"Our goal is to make the best use of what we have and not fall short, by keeping track of what we have properly and making sure people are properly licensed," Benavidez said. "We try to work around everyone's schedule; we have to schedule maintenance, but everyone needs their vehicles during the day"
The NMANG has only been here since late January, but has managed to make huge steps toward improving the motor pool processes. Among those improvements: deleting drivers that are no longer on island, ensuring all vehicles are properly entered into the ULLS-G, properly monitoring work orders, conducting end-of-month reports, and updating and maintaining equipment in a timely manner.
"One of our biggest accomplishments is that we have brought the ULLS-G up to a higher level, using it more efficiently," Rivera.
The motor pool team maintains all vehicles and has significantly improved the flow of business and efficiency of the J-4 motor pool. Benavidez and Rivera work hard, but they work well together.
"I couldn't do this without [Rivera] – she does a great job," Benavidez said. "We keep very busy, but it makes the time go by quickly. We are already two and a half months into our deployment."