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