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NEWS | Feb. 1, 2010

New Mexico mechanics keep unit mission ready

By Sgt. Candace Westlund Colorado National Guard

CAMP ADDER, Iraq, - Because of the number of miles the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles log on the roads here in Iraq, the mechanics from the 720th Convoy Security Company of the New Mexico National Guard have an important job keeping their unit's vehicles fully mission capable.

The 720th mechanics, who tasked under 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Colorado National Guard, are working overtime on this deployment. Not only do they work in the motor pool, but they are also tasked to go on missions.

Spc. Brent Pirtle, a 720th CSC mechanic, has served as a mechanic for six years. "I have been tasked out to be a gunner and a driver on missions here," he said.

Pirtle said he was proud of the fact that they have had no serious breakdowns on the road. If any incidents have occurred during a mission, they have been fixed by the mechanics.

"It is like maintaining a successful relationship. You get to know the vehicles very well and if you treat them right they will never give you a problem," Pirtle said.

There is no higher level of maintenance; everything is performed at the unit level. "There is civilian support, but we can do in one day what they do in one month," Pirtle said.

The 720th CSC has multiple types of MRAP's and the mechanics are trained to work on all of them. Pirtle explained that while the maintenance is implemented differently on each type of truck, they are the same parts, so it is easy to learn each system.

Spc. Jaun Barela, a mechanic from Santa Rosa, N.M., said, "Without us, they don't roll."

Above all else, said Barela, "It's pretty fun, too."