Sgt. Michael K. Selvage
10th Sustainment Brigade Journalist
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Soldiers assigned to 2nd Platoon, 514th Support Maintenance Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade, provide fabrication and metal work here to meet the needs and help enhance the safety of Soldiers who put their lives on the line every time they roll out on a mission.
No matter what the temperature is outside, allied trade specialists work with extremely hot plasma cutters, bench grinders, welders and torches to accomplish their mission of supporting the warfighter.
Sgt. Nate Mast, shop noncommissioned officer in charge, said their job is to support any needs that may come up at BAF. He said the shop receives between five and 10 work orders every week.
Soldiers in the shop have completed a variety of work orders that request anything from fabricating bumpers for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to demilitarizing arms secured from enemy weapons caches.
With their experience and knowledge, allied trade specialists also may be seen as problem solvers.
“Recently, a unit was having issues with their ammo getting stuck in the ammo can, so we made some modifications to allow the ammo to feed into the weapon system freely,” said Sgt. Robert Fair, shop foreman.
The shop has supported military units and civilian companies throughout BAF, sometimes just by providing metal to the units that may not have access to it.
“We also help with container repair and support for any of the containers that have to go back to the states,” said Mast. “We patch the holes and repair or replace the seals.”
The Soldiers understand their responsibility of mission support and strive to improve themselves each day.
“Back in the states, we really don’t get to do our jobs because there isn’t a big demand for it,” said Pfc. Toney Chambers, allied trade specialist. “But here we are constantly busy doing our job. I like that.”
Receiving work orders that request a second weapon system mount in a turret or repairs to a truck’s Q-Net, a lightweight armor solution capable of protecting a wide range of tactical and lightly armored vehicles against rocket-propelled grenades, is not uncommon.
“We have a very productive atmosphere in the shop,” Mast said. “I let them know what needs to be done, and they do it their way to accomplish the mission.”
The shop does a lot of custom jobs as well, which may help boost morale.
“There are a lot of commemorative awards for units getting ready to leave,” Mast said. “Commands request things like guidon stands or ornaments for someone’s desk, and we make it happen.”
Soldiers of the shop embrace their duties as allied trade specialists.
“Anything you can think of, we can probably do it,” Chambers said. “Not even probably; we will do it.”