HOHENFELS, Germany -- It was just another day in the shop, but with a few new faces and in a different country. Approximately 50 Illinois Army National Guard soldiers from Company B, 634th Brigade Support Battalion, in Champaign, conducted a three-week overseas deployment training mission to Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 5-26.
The soldiers primarily worked at the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment Motor Park and the Consolidated Maintenance Activity, where they worked directly with local German mechanics and active duty soldiers.
“It is good to have the extra help,” said Christian Lang, a civilian German mechanic who has worked at the Consolidated Maintenance Activity in Hohenfels for the past two years. “It is nice to work together and meet new people.”
The Illinois soldiers provided direct maintenance support to on-post vehicles, which included humvees, fuelers, freightliners, five-ton trucks, armored personnel carriers and tractors. They also worked on trailers, stompers and scrapers among other equipment.
Approximately 3,000 maintenance work orders are processed each year at Hohenfels, said Sgt. 1st Class Dennis W. Mills, Jr., the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Consolidated Maintenance Activity. Company B completed more than 125 work orders during its ODT.
Throughout the course of a year, there are approximately 10 units ranging from military police companies to engineers that conduct its annual training at Hohenfels, said Mills. This is Company B, 634th BSB’s third ODT mission to Hohenfels. Previous missions were completed in 2001 and 2004.
“These missions are essential for a high state of readiness and will keep us relevant for future deployments,” said 1st Sgt. Joseph R. Briggs of Mahomet, Company B, 634th BSB’s readiness NCOIC.
Company B completed a deployment of 87 Soldiers to Afghanistan from December 2008 to September 2009 with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. While deployed, National Guard Bureau recognized the company with the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence. The award was given for displaying superior expertise and professionalism in the maintenance field and in June 2010 the company accepted the award in Richmond, Va.
Because of the high level of performance, soldiers were rewarded with visits to many historic sites in Munich, Rothenburg and Neuschwanstein and also enjoyed a taste of authentic German food while on their ODT.
“We have worked hard and are grateful for the opportunity to improve our skills and enjoy the local culture,” said Briggs.