When duty calls, members of the military are always ready for action.
It turns out the staff at JW Burress has the same standard.
The service department at the equipment dealer’s Raleigh, NC, location received a call in July for assistance from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. A Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) wrecker unit that was out of service needed to be fixed immediately, as it was being sent overseas the following day.
The HEMTT unit consists of an Oshkosh truck mounted with a Grove crane, which has a lifting capacity of 5,400 lbs.
Service Manager Jonathan Macklin said he and technicians Joey Bailey and Ronnie Tuttle dropped what they were doing and made the 90-mi. trek to Fort Bragg.
JW Burress has worked with the civilian side of Fort Bragg before and has been tied to the military unit for approximately six months, said Operations Manager Bill Hoyle.
Armed only with basic tools, since the shop at Fort Bragg had anything they would need, the trio from JW Burress began what would be a six-hour day working on the HEMTT.
Bailey said they were told the boom wasn’t moving, but soon found much more was wrong with the unit.
There was no power going to the LMI box, which controls some of the boom’s functions. Wires severely corroded from the unforgiving deserts of the Middle East. Plus, the remote box wasn’t working. Wires were crossed all over the place, which Bailey guessed was a sign of efforts to fix problems as best as possible while in a war zone.
“We had to go in and undo whatever they did and get it back together correctly,” Macklin said.
Bailey, a field service technician of JW Burress for 2.5 years, said they felt a bit of pressure knowing the machine was to be deployed the following day, but military personnel assisted them in any way.
“Anything we needed, they had it,” he said.
JW Burress Technician Joey Evans, a member of the Army National Guard in South Carolina, said he operated HEMTT units during his service, which included a stint in Iraq from July 2004 to September 2005.
He said the machines are commonly used in the military and are charged with such tasks as the transport of equipment, supplies and recovery vehicles or toting ammunition.
In honor of their hard work, Macklin, Bailey and Tuttle were invited to a ceremony at Fort Bragg to receive certificates of appreciation from the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion Field Maintenance Company, which reads, in part “your company’s dedicated support to the warfighter greatly enhanced the operational readiness of the 4th Brigade Combat Team and the 82nd Airborne Division.”
Individual certificates were awarded to Evans, Bailey, Tuttle, Macklin, Danny Batten, Jeff Duncan, Rick Thompson, Troy Webster, John Thompson, Dave Sulin and Dave Boggs, not only for their efforts in turning around the specialized HEMTT unit that day, but for refurbishing the numerous units the military sends to the Raleigh branch.