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    Iowa National Guard maintenance company leads transition to new unit type

    Iowa National Guard maintenance company leads transition to new unit type

    Photo By Sgt. Tawny Schmit | Pfc. Carson Lambert, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 3655th Classification and...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Tawny Schmit 

    Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa National Guard

    The Iowa Army National Guard’s 3655th Component Repair Company, based out of Johnston, Iowa, has joined the list of a small number of units in the U.S. Army who have transitioned to a Classification and Inspection Company. After a busy two-week annual training period in June, the 3655th CRC became the 3655th CICO, reflecting the Army’s overall shift away from conducting component repair internally and opting to send equipment back to manufacturers or civilian maintenance shops.

    In the past, the unit maintained individual components on vehicle systems, such as engines, transmissions or alternators. Going forward, the 3655th CICO will be focusing on a bigger picture mission that will save time and be more cost-effective.

    “The point of these companies is to classify and inspect retrograde material to figure out what to do with said material,” said Capt. Tyler Brockel, commander of the 3655th CICO. “We figure out what it will take to get it to a repairable state, then compare the cost of repairing it versus the cost to just buy a new one.”

    1st Sgt. Jeremy Jacobson, first sergeant of the 3655th CICO, said the new process allows them to package and redistribute salvageable equipment.

    “We take upgrades off and redistribute them to the Army supply system,” Jacobson said. “If you have a [Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station], we can take that CROW system off a vehicle and make a CROW package.”

    Brockel estimated that there are less than 10 CICOs total in the country, and with very little doctrine currently available, he said it’s “cutting edge.” He has been working closely with leadership in the company, as well as the 3625th CICO in Illinois, to develop standards of operations and flow charts to guide the unit in its transition and clarify its mission.

    Not only has the transition completely revamped the unit’s inventory -- with many pieces of equipment being redistributed to units across the state and new equipment continuing to be delivered -- it will also change the skillsets of the Soldiers assigned to it. Before, the unit was largely made up of maintenance-oriented Soldiers. Now, it will be split between maintenance and quartermaster military occupational specialities.

    “The interesting thing about a CICO is it’s a very large unit and it’s very MOS-diverse,” Brockel said. “We’ll have everything you can think of. Bradley and Striker mechanics, field artillery repair, electronic calibration, radio repair, transportation movement coordination, and so much more.”

    Some of those jobs being added are completely new to the National Guard, such as the Stryker Systems Maintainer, or 91S. Brockel said he hopes that by the end of the year, the structure of the unit will be set up for success from a personnel and equipment standpoint so they can focus on actual CICO operations. It will take time for those new job slots to be filled, but it offers Soldiers in the Iowa National Guard a unique opportunity to pave the path forward on something new.

    “There’s a reason they picked the CRCs,” Brockel said. “All of the Soldiers who are in these positions are extremely experienced. These are the right people for the job because of the particular MOSes that already existed here.”

    With many experienced noncommissioned officers and warrant officers in the unit, Brockel is confident in his Soldiers’ ability to adapt and excel. Both Brockel and Jacobson have logistical backgrounds, and Brockel said he’s excited to be the “tip of the spear.”

    “It’s going to be a huge challenge because of the sheer size of the unit and the complexity of personnel and equipment,” Brockel said, “but I’ve always liked dealing with complex operations. It’s cool to be part of something brand new and that hasn’t been in the Army long.”



    Date Taken: 06.29.2020
    Date Posted: 06.29.2020 17:02
    Story ID: 373032
    Location: JOHNSTON, IA, US 
    Hometown: JOHNSTON, IA, US

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