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Army Maintainers Learn New Skills at ‘Maintenance Rodeo’

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Katie Ward, 633rd Air Base Wing

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JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va., Sept. 21, 2017 — The 558th Transportation Company hosted its first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition here, Sept. 19-20.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017.
Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017. The timed competition featured six stations covering the company’s various tasks, including engine maintenance, radio antenna set-up, welding and fabrication, weapons maintenance, vehicle recovery and vehicle preventative checks and maintenance. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Katie Ward
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017. Watercraft maintainers host first ‘Maintenance Rodeo’
Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017. The timed competition featured six stations covering the company’s various tasks, including engine maintenance, radio antenna set-up, welding and fabrication, weapons maintenance, vehicle recovery and vehicle preventative checks and maintenance. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Katie Ward

The timed competition featured six stations covering the company’s various tasks, including engine maintenance, radio antenna assembly, welding and fabrication, weapons maintenance, vehicle recovery and vehicle preventative checks and maintenance.

Teamwork

As watercraft maintainers, the company’s soldiers possess a variety of military occupational specialties. Teams of soldiers from different specialties worked together at each station in order to broaden their maintenance knowledge.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017
Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017. Soldiers competed in various timed maintenance tasks at six different stations. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Katie Ward
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017 Watercraft maintainers host first ‘Maintenance Rodeo’
Soldiers assigned to the 558th Transportation Company assemble an OE-254 radio antenna during the company’s first “Maintenance Rodeo” competition at Third Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 20, 2017. Soldiers competed in various timed maintenance tasks at six different stations. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Katie Ward

“We wanted to have a culminating event to cross-train our soldiers,” said Army Capt. Lavina Jackson, 558th Transportation Company commander.

Jackson added, “We wanted to mix ‘back-to-basics’ skills with what each soldier might do on a daily basis. Depending on their MOS, they’ve never done some of these tasks before. We hope this exposure gives them a better idea of Army maintenance as a whole.”

The company organized familiarization and training sessions prior to the competition to better prepare the soldiers for tasks outside of their specialties. During the rodeo, instructors were available to assist the teams as needed.

Learning New Skills

As a watercraft engineer, Army Spc. Zane Reynolds doesn’t handle a welding torch on a daily basis, so learning how to fabricate a steel bench was his favorite part of the competition.

“We have really good instructors, so it made it easier,” Reynolds said. “Often, other jobs correspond to what you do, so it gives a different perspective to do my job even better. I think dedicating training time this way gives soldiers specific hands-on training with things they might not otherwise learn.”

The sentiment of both soldiers and unit leadership suggests the “Maintenance Rodeo” may be back for another round in the future to showcase what an Army maintenance company can bring to the fight.