115th Maintenance Company Brings Guard Members from Three States Together

 

Written by Spc. Spencer Case

207th MPAD, Anaconda Times Staff Writer

Published February 27, 2006

 

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A 115th Maintenance Company Soldier performs repairs on a military vehicle at LSA Anaconda.

Photo courtesy of Anaconda Times

 Spc. Rich Hosay, 115th Maintenance Company, Utah National Guard, makes repairs on a military vehicle at LSA Anaconda.

 

LOGISTICAL SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq — For Utah’s 115th Maintenance Company, the only thing more diverse than the Soldiers is the smorgasbord of missions they perform in southern Iraq.

 

Since they arrived in Iraq last May, the National Guard unit of over 200 troops has faced the dual challenge of assimilating Soldiers from Utah, Montana and Missouri into one coherent team and performing their best on a wide variety of critical missions. Soldiers and leaders alike agree that the unit has proven itself equal to the task.

 

“We’ve brought three together to one awesome unit,” said Spc. Matthew Williams, 22, of Helena, Mont., a wheeled vehicle mechanic in 2nd platoon, 115th Maintenance Co. “I couldn’t ask for a better unit to be in over here.”

 

While in their mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, the Utah unit added a vehicle maintenance platoon from Missouri’s 1035th Maintenance Co., and two platoons from Montana’s 3669th Maintenance Co., one of which works on wheeled vehicles, the other a track platoon that works on tanks.

 

Capt. Budd Vogrinec, commander of the 115th Maintenance Co., said he has done everything in his power to encourage unity among his Soldiers. Vogrinic and the leaders within the platoons made sure to name each platoon numerically rather than calling them “Missouri platoon” or “Utah platoon.” Later, they made sure the Soldiers wore the same unit patch to encourage solidarity.

 

“The NCOs and officers from all the three different states have all stepped up and brought the unit in together,” Vogrinec said.

 

Once they arrived in Iraq, The 115th spent eight months at Forward Operating Base Duke, north of Najaf, supporting the 155th Brigade Combat Team of Missouri.

 

The 155th BCT, which had already spent three months in theater, was short on not only maintenance personnel, but combat logistics patrol security and logistics as well. The newly unified Soldiers found plenty to keep them busy, be it providing security for CLPs, pulling guard duty or helping keep insurgents away from abandoned ammo supply points on patrol missions.

 

There was also no shortage of standard maintenance work to be done. The 115th repaired everything from air conditioning systems and generators to vehicles and weapons. One of their most interesting tasks for the armament platoon was inspecting the AK-47s of the Iraqi Border Guard, which acts as a cross between a police and a military body.

 

As if their job wasn’t demanding enough, Soldiers of the 115th  participated in 39 civil affairs and humanitarian missions, including the voluntary “Adopt a School” program.  The troops delivered supplies sent from family members in the United States to two schools in the Najaf area in July and October. Those in the unit with wood-working skills made desks and cabinets for the teachers.

 

 “I think a lot of the Soldiers really liked the different humanitarian missions we got to do,” said Staff Sgt. Kimberly Whitaker, a mechanic and supervisor in the 115th from Potosi, Miss. “I think people really liked doing that because you got to be with the Iraqi nationals, you got to see that they really did appreciate what we were doing for them, how we were trying to make their lives better.” 

 

All in all, the unit  has completed more than 1000 work orders and more than 630 missions “outside the wire,” including  380 ammo supply point patrols, 85 gun truck missions, 80 wrecker recovery missions, and 20 logistics missions.

 

In January, the 115th Maintenance Co. had to adjust again when they were reassigned to Logistical Support Area Adder near Tallil, to support the 45th Corps Support Battalion, which provides logistics support throughout southern Iraq.

 

They expect to remain there for the rest of the deployment.

 

Whatever else comes their way, the 115th is likely to stick together for support.

 

“We’re all one family that’s been through the same thing,” said Whitaker. “We know how to bring somebody up when they’re feeling down.”