Spc. Gilbert Nunn, of Ridgeway, Mo., checks the engine of a Humvee, during his units annual training supporting the III Corps headquarters during a field support exercise at Fort Hood Texas.. Nunn is assigned as a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the Headquarters Support Company, 35th Infantry Division which is made up of Soldiers from Kansas and Missouri.
By Staff Sgt. Ty Stafford
FORT HOOD, Texas - Members of the Headquarters Support Company, 35th Infantry Division from Missouri and Kansas cross their state borders and rivalries to join forces during a field support exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, June 3-23 for their annual training.
Pooling their skills, the company's 26 maintenance Soldiers supported several missions during the exercise, including several which were sought out by them.
"We had more than 498 hours of service on III Corps vehicles, and 206 hours of service on 35th Infantry Division equipment," said Master Sgt. Tim Coleman, who works as a full-time technician with a field maintenance shop in Missouri.
Service hours include maintenance on three-quarter-ton trailers, Humvees, water trailers known as 'water buffalos,' and command post tent system, or SICUPS, generators.
"Last Saturday during the pause of exercise, we did 15 services on one 10K generator, the five large tents and the nine medium tents," Coleman said.
Servicing the generators is especially important for the team because, the computer systems and servers in the command posts requiring cooling in order to remain functioning.
"The generators run 24/7 and if they are not serviced properly and we don't check the cooling systems, then the main operations may not be able to function," Coleman said.
In addition to their main mission, the crew sought out more work for their new Soldiers and members of the III Corps maintenance shop were happy to oblige them.
"III Corps was nearly 50 services behind, and we approached them for extra missions so it worked out for them and us. It kept us busy and definitely helped with training our new Soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Robert Tracy. "They were very appreciative."
Sgt. 1st Class Mike Thomas, a Kansas Guardsmen with the Headquarters Support Company, commented that III Corps was not only appreciative but gave the team a maintenance facility to use and all the necessary equipment to make the services efficient.
"They were very accommodating," he said.
Of the 26 Soldiers, over half were new Soldiers and for some it was their first annual training.
For Pfc. Ben Cummins, who has only been in the Kansas Guard for 11 months, the training was an eye-opening experience.
"I didn't know what to expect coming in," said Cummins, who recently graduated from Northland Baptist Bible College and lives in Buhler, Kan. "I've learned a lot more about mechanics since I've been here and there's nothing better than to learn while you are doing it."
Even better than the mechanic training for Cummins was the Soldier skills training he received. The team's Soldiers spent time using the Engagement Skills Trainer, a computerized range and the Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer.
Properly maintaining equipment is a mantra of the armed services and with the hard work and dedication of Soldiers like those in the Headquarters Support Company, no operation would be able to sustain over long periods.
"Most people think the active Army looks differently at the National Guard, but they don't," Coleman said. "I think that the services we provided here show how well the Guard works and what we can provide, and I think III Corps definitely looks at us differently now."
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Pfc. Ben Cummins, of Buhler, Kansas, performs services during his units annual training supporting the III Corps headquarters during a field support exercise at Fort Hood Texas. Cummins is assigned as a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the Headquarters Support Company, 35th Infantry Division which is made up of Soldiers from Kansas and Missouri.
Sgt. Michael Taylor, of St. Joseph, Mo., performs services during his units annual training supporting the III Corps headquarters during a field support exercise at Fort Hood Texas. Taylor is assigned as a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the Headquarters Support Company, 35th Infantry Division which is made up of Soldiers from Kansas and Missouri.