Mechanics Keep Special Forces Rolling

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FALLUJAH (Courtesy of CJSOTF-AP PAO, Sept. 28, 2007) – With sweat stinging his eyes, his knuckles covered in grease, a mechanic carefully navigates a rugged HMMWV’s casings and pipes. It’s nearing the end of his 12-hour shift, but being six-months into the deployment, he knows he won’t leave until the vehicle is functioning.

Patching up vehicles in an unforgiving environment is hard work, but it is just another typical day spent downrange for the mechanics of Special Operations Task Force – Central.

Attached to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula, the SOTF-C Battalion Maintenance Office maintains a fleet of vehicles that are subjected to intense wear and tear from driving on the many unpaved and dangerous roadways found throughout Iraq. The section provides a crucial resource to U.S. Special Forces here supporting the War on Terror - mobility.

A properly maintained and updated vehicle can be as vital to mission success as a weapon; inversely, a poorly maintained vehicle can be the difference between detaining an insurgent and allowing one to get away.

“They can’t move without us,” said the SOTF-C Battalion Motor Sergeant. “Without wheels, you’re not moving.”

“Vehicles are our customers’ lifeline,” said another sergeant assigned to the maintenance office.

It’s the mission of the SOTF-C Maintenance Office to ensure vehicle malfunctions never stand in the way of U.S. Special Forces achieving success on every mission.

The office is responsible for providing maintenance, logistics support and repair for multiple bases. Those bases span a huge stretch of Iraq including Baghdad and to the east and south along the Iraqi borders with Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia. If any of the bases have problems with parts or vehicle maintenance, the SOTF-C Maintenance Office is the sole organization to solve those problems.

“Some days, it’s just overwhelming,” said a specialist in the office.

The Maintenance Office has an extremely difficult and specialized task, given the kind of vehicles today’s Special Forces Soldiers use.

Often working more than 10 hours in the smoldering Iraqi summer days, the Battalion Motor Sergeant said each mechanic labors to provide an asset and a service that makes a difference.

The mechanics don’t spend a lot of time mulling over what impact their sweat and toil has on the overall mission. They take their job one task at a time, focusing on the immediate result: changing something on a vehicle to make it better or get it working again.

“This is what I know how to do,” said the sergeant.

In reality, they make the mission of CJSOTF-AP less complicated, because without the mobility they provide, the SOTF-C Special Forces wouldn’t be able to start or complete almost any operation here.

In their own way, they are doing their part to create a safe environment in Iraq. As a part of the U.S. and Coalition team, they are part of something bigger – a force that helps liberate thousands of Iraqis that they’ll never meet.

The specialist believes mission success often starts off very small.

“I think of myself like a pebble,” he said. “To build something, you need a whole lot of pebbles.”

For the Battalion Motor Sergeant, he said his satisfaction comes when he and his Soldiers complete each operation. Each vehicle they return to a serviceable condition is a concrete example that the Maintenance Office is helping spread freedom across the sands of Iraq one mission at a time.

“Just seeing a mission get done,” he said. “That’s the joy.”

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A mechanic from the U.S. Special Operations Task Force – Central Maintenance Office, responsible for providing maintenance and logistics support for multiple Advanced Operating Bases throughout Iraq, works on a disabled HMMWV. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph H. McAtee)

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HiRes
A mechanic from the U.S. Special Operations Task Force – Central Maintenance Office, responsible for providing maintenance and logistics support for multiple Advanced Operating Bases throughout Iraq, works diligently on a disabled HMMWV. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph H. McAtee)

http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2007/September/070928-02.html
 
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FALLUJAH (Courtesy of CJSOTF-AP PAO, Sept. 28, 2007) – With sweat stinging his eyes, his knuckles covered in grease, a mechanic carefully navigates a rugged HMMWV’s casings and pipes. It’s nearing the end of his 12-hour shift, but being six-months into the deployment, he knows he won’t leave until the vehicle is functioning.

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