By Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service
April 27, 2009 - Mechanics from the Iraqi army's 8th Motor Transport Regiment attended a six-day generator maintenance course here recently to improve their self-sufficiency and sustainability. The Iraqi army is not staffed with generator mechanics, even though a lot of their units rely on generators for their electricity. The soldiers who attended the course are vehicle mechanics who can directly apply the skills learned in the course to help to maintain the 8th Iraqi Army Division's generators.
"We want to learn as much information from the U.S. mechanics as we can and gain the experience to maintain the generators," 1st. Sgt. Ali Mahdi Jassim of the 8th MTR said.
The mechanics who attended the course are part of the 8th MTR's maintenance company. The company's original responsibility was service and maintenance of Humvees and trucks, but now it includes generators.
"We have a big generator at 8th MTR, and each company has a small generator," Jassim said. "Everything we learn here we will go back to 8th MTR to teach the other soldiers how to fix and maintain the generators."
The course focused on correct startup and shutdown procedures, proper phase for the electrical current, preventive maintenance checks and services, and changing main generator components.
"This class is going well," said Army Spc. Patrick Armstrong, a generator mechanic with Company B, 589th Brigade Support Battalion. "This is actually the third set of Iraqis I trained, and they comprehend this stuff a lot easier than the other groups I've trained."
The soldiers who attended the class have vehicle maintenance experience, helping them to understand the basics of generator maintenance, Armstrong said.
"I think coming from an MTR has a major effect on how easily they understand it, because one, they know they are going to use it, and two, they have some basic knowledge of how maintenance goes," Armstrong said. "I'm just helping them to understand generator maintenance,"
The training gives the 8th MTR soldiers a skill that will make sure they can operate and maintain the generators they have for a long time, Armstrong said. "I think this actually goes a lot towards helping them get on their feet and being able to take care of their own equipment, which helps them to be self-sufficient," he said.
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson serves with the 41st Fires Brigade.)