Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics Become Combat Advisors with 1st SFAB

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Story by PFC Zoe Garbarino on 12/06/2017
FORT BENNING, Ga. The primary mission of Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics, 91Bs, is to provide maintenance on wheeled vehicles, their associated trailers and material handling equipment systems.

The mechanics assigned to the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade volunteered to take on additional tasks. Not only are they the unit's vehicle maintenance and recovery assets, but they will also serve as advisors to foreign allies.

The 1st SFAB is the Army's first brigade purposefully built to help combatant commanders accomplish theater security objectives by training, advising, assisting, accompanying, and enabling allied and partnered indigenous security forces.

"I would recommend SFAB to Soldiers, especially other 91Bs, who are willing to test their abilities to tackle their duties while advising foreign allies for career progression," said Staff Sgt. Eric Martin, a motor sergeant who joined 1st SFAB three months ago.

Martin added that he joined 1st SFAB to experience a different aspect of the Army outside of his military occupational specialty and to work with motivated, like-minded individuals.

Martin said he has been to five different units as a 91B, but has not seen another motor pool with the same work system that the 1st SFAB has in place.

"We control the maintenance aspect of our consolidated motor pool, ensure that vehicle dispatches are controlled properly, and anytime there are faults that we don't have the proper tools at hand, we are liaisons with the civilian contractors here," Martin said.

At any conventional motor pool, mechanics are the personnel who conduct vehicle troubleshooting and repairs. Civilian contractors assisting the 1st SFAB motor pool have allowed 91B Soldiers to dedicate more time to training.

"Because there [are] so few mechanics in SFAB, our experience level and knowledge base must be a lot higher," said Sgt. Michael Jahnke, a vehicle mechanic from 6th Battalion, 1st SFAB.

In addition to completing their daily mechanic tasks, 1st SFAB 91Bs also receive unique training to prepare them to be combat advisors such as: Military Advisor Training Academy; Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training and Brigade Combat Team Trauma Training.

"Being part of SFAB has given me the opportunity to take part in several intense and challenging training exercises," said Sgt. Cameron Knott, a vehicle mechanic and Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, native who joined 1st SFAB four months ago. "Some of the exercises that were offered to me are courses that not everyone in the conventional Army is familiar with."

Martin said the most rewarding part about being with 1st SFAB is the people.

"From the command teams to the junior enlisted Soldiers, it's absolutely the most outstanding group of personnel that I've had the opportunity to work with. The Soldiers here are proactive and they're constantly seeking additional duties and additional training and they all want to be here," Martin said.

Soldiers interested in joining 1st SFAB should contact their branch manager.

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