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Dorchester students visit Army Reserve maintenance facility

By Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Espinosa | 81st Readiness Division | Dec. 18, 2019

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —

The Army Reserve’s 81st Readiness Division out of Fort Jackson, South Carolina, hosted diesel mechanic students from the Dorchester County Career and Technology Center to showcase military vocations and opportunities at a maintenance facility at Joint Base Charleston on Dec. 11, 2019.

The Area Maintenance Support Activity (AMSA) 121 hosted the students and even had some alumni on hand to encourage students to see firsthand the process of ensuring Army vehicles are ready at a moment’s notice for contingency operations.

“This is awesome,” said Nicholas Mahon, 17, after looking at a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV). “I would rather have a tool in my hand than a pencil any day.” Mahon added the field trip inspired him to continue on his path as a mechanic in the military after graduation.

DCCTC is the public career center for Dorchester County, serving all four county high schools, local private schools and home/virtual school students. DCCTC offers 19 programs designed to enable students to enter the workforce, military or pursue a college degree with hands-on training and certification.

Their curriculum includes engine repair, fuel supply and management, suspension and brakes, hydraulics systems operation and lighting and instrumentation. The students also learn essential employment skills such as the importance of time management, professionalism and team work.

AMSA technicians Robert Wright, a mechanic at the shop, and David Crowell, an inspector at the shop, both graduated from DCCTC in 1991 and 2004, respectively. Both are also Army Reserve staff sergeants.

Being able to reconnect with the DCCTC staff and new students was powerful, both in the support they could offer and the knowledge the students gained, they said.

“I didn't even know this maintenance facility was here until after I joined the Army,” Crowell said. “Once I learned of it and started working here, my supervisor liked my work ethic and I was able to work up from my first day Dec. 11, 2005, from a mechanic to an inspector.”

The AMSA is a full-time operation comprised of dual-status Warrior Citizens established to maintain military equipment, especially Army Reserve vehicles, so they may be used for training or deployment on short notice anywhere in the world.

“This is a good opportunity for the students,” said Andre Green, AMSA 121 supervisor. “This skill-set is needed in this community. It’s a good opportunity to let them know we’re here and encourage them to try it. Even if they don’t want to make a career of [the Army Reserve], they would still leave with the benefits from just trying it.”

JB Charleston is home to three Air Force Wings, Navy units and a variety of mission partners from all four branches of the military. The AMSA, managed by the Army’s 81st RD, is one of 11 Army Reserve organizations that support JB Charleston’s mission by maintaining and supporting the equipment Reserve units.