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A Kenosha, Wis.-based Wisconsin Army National Guard unit travelled to Milwaukee March 1 to test a new method of servicing weapons and electronics for a fellow Guard unit.

Company B of the 257th Brigade Support Battalion sent 13 Soldiers from the company's electronics and armament sections to provide checks and services on a variety of equipment belonging to the 157th Headquarters Company.

In the past, the 157th Headquarters, located at the Richards Street Armory in Milwaukee, was required to coordinate and transport their equipment to maintenance shops. This method didn't ensure the quickest turnaround, which is critical when the equipment is needed for future training.

1st Lt. Alex Baldwin, officer in charge of the team, said this new service method alleviates units of having to spend extra time and money.

"We're taking that burden of the transportation away and we're bringing our Soldiers to that equipment which saves a lot of time," said Baldwin. "We can get right down to the mission servicing the equipment."

The Soldiers conducted annual maintenance on night vision devices, weapons and more than 20 radios. The services included checks and services, inspecting for any damage, documenting those damages and providing repairs, if possible. The mission took the majority of the day.

Some members of 257th commented how they were looking forward to the training mission and obtaining more hands-on experience.

"We get to do our job," said Spc. Matt Bothe, with the 257th BSB's electronics section. "It helps us with our skills ó sharpens up our skills."

Soldiers also noted that periodically they are unable to perform their military occupational specialty (MOS) due to the limitations of resources and equipment to service within their own unit. This new training mission will allow them to perform what they were trained to do.

"It benefits me because I don't work with [radios] often," said Pvt. Cody Mayberry, with the 257th BSB electronics section. "It's good to actually sit down and work on the radios every once in awhile. It's nice."

"It's nice that they actually get to do their MOS," said Staff Sgt. William Dittberner, the 257th BSB's armament section chief.

While the training proved beneficial to the Soldiers in maintaining their proficiency and skills through quality training, it also provided essential support to mission readiness.

"We are going to be using all this equipment during our annual training, and because it is all being worked on, we will be able to use it knowing it is fully functioning, said the 157th's Spc. Gabriella Jacobsen.

The goal is to not only ensure Soldiers are mission capable but that the units are mission capable as well, said Sgt. Kyle Milas, of the BSB's electronic section.

Having radio communication, for example, is an important part of any military operation. Without it, units are less effective.

Pvt. Cody Mayberry, of the 257th, said Soldiers on their own might have difficulty troubleshooting why radios are not functioning properly. But enlisting the help of maintenance specialists ensures that radios and other equipment are mission capable.

The 257th's ground support section conducted the first such maintenance training mission in February when it provided services on generators for a unit in Whitewater.

 


 

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