Saturday, July 12, 2008

Generator Maintenance

200 Days and a Wake Up until we deploy.

Today is the first of two days of our July drill. After formation we all went to the motor pool. This month, I drove like everyone else. I could have walked, but I wanted to go to the laundry at the east end of the Post and get a camo backpack and an Army t-shirt for my nephew Argus. He has an Isreali Defense Force t-shirt he got from his step-mom, so I thought a US Army t-shirt would give him some more variety in his wardrobe. I'll walk tomorrow.

Actually the walking is a strange thing. Because of the security gate getting to the airfield, it is a 8-kilometer drive from headquarters to the motor pool but only a 2-kilometer walk. I drove on my first weekend, but after that, I walked to the motor pool. Generally I arrive at the motor pool before the guys who stop at the PX and after the those who drive straight there. When I ride my bicycle I beat everybody. Everybody either thinks they need their car or wants their car at the motor pool, so no one walks with me. I walk or ride. Everybody else drives.

After formation, my squad leader said he had to do paperwork all day so I am in charge of generator maintenance. We have three generators that need to be check out and run under load to make sure they are OK. And I got two men to do the work with me. Three of us, three generators--no sweat. Except that I am also the Tool Bitch for the whole maintenance company so I was signing our torque wrenches and 3-inch sockets and air guns and welding equipment for everyone else in the company. And my big, fancy 70-hp diesel generator needed http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.giffuel. So I had to find a fuel truck driver willing to drive his fuel rig up to the ground-mounted tool/crane rig I call home. (FRS, see previous post).

And then one of the mechanics was gone for four hours for a change of Sergeant's Major ceremony. And the other guy had to help with trailer maintenance. So by mid-afternoon, I pulled all three of the 3kw and 5kw generators out of the maintenance building with a forklift, started them and tested them. Two work. One works but needs a new battery. The important thing for me is that things get done when there is no one aroudn to do them. I wanted to get a license for the all-terrain forklift, but everyone is busy and there is always someone around who has a license and is happy to drive it. Today, I drove the forklift and learned all its controls because I had to and could let the motor officer know after the fact that I can operate the vehicle no problem. So now I can get licensed without all the usual inertia.

Family Black Sheep Flies a MEDEVAC Blackhawk

Brooklyn-born Amira Talifi, (not her real name) is a helicopter pilot I served with in the Army National Guard. She is one of seven ch...