By Zachary Mott
| 88th Readiness Division | March 24, 2020
Jonathan Tenbrink, left, a dual-status Military Technician who serves as work lead, Area Maintenance Support Activity 136 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a chief warrant officer 3 with the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, meets with Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Farmer, center, senior enlisted advisor, 88th Readiness Division, during a recent visit to the facility. Tenbrink is one of more than 1,000 MILTECHs across the 88th RD’s 19-state region that fill critical needs to maintain the readiness of the U.S. Army Reserve force and equipment.
(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Zach Mott, 88th Readiness Division Public Affairs Office) (Photo by Zachary Mott)
Brandon Clarke, right, a supply technician with Area Maintenance Support Activity 133 in South Bend, Indiana, talks to Anthony Yagel, heavy mobile equipment repairer supervisor, AMSA 133, about the status of parts order requests. Both are dual status military technicians who provide critical support to meet the readiness requirements of the U.S. Army Reserve. (Photo by Zachary Mott)
The saying goes, “an Army marches on its stomach.” For the U.S. Army Reserve’s 88th Readiness Division, it could not function (or march) without the roles filled through the dual status military technician program.
There are more than 1,000 MILTECHs across the 88th RD, a region that spans 19 states in the northern United States from Ohio to Washington state. These unique positions are essential for the U.S. Army Reserve to accomplish all that it has on its plate.
As traditional, drilling Troop Program Unit Soldiers, MILTECHs complete the one weekend a month, two weeks out of the year requirement. However, as dual-status technicians, they work Monday through Friday in various positions in maintenance, human resources, transportation, small arms repair, electronics repair and several other fields.
What is a MILTECH? A Dual Status Military Technician is, according to the U.S. Army Reserve Military Technician Information Handbook, part of the Full Time Support for an Army Reserve unit that plays a significant role in assisting unit commanders with their readiness posture.
“MILTECHs benefit (the command) because we maintain the experience that we need and the hands-on with the equipment,” said Jonathan Tenbrink, work lead, Area Maintenance Support Activity 136 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a chief warrant officer 3 with the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. “We become the resident experts. Which is really nice, especially for me being a warrant officer. It still keeps my technical side up to date. So I’m not lacking on anything, especially now at a higher level where I’m doing mostly logistics, this keeps me rooted to where I need to be to help out the units.”
The large majority of the 88th RDs 277 facilities have at least one MILTECH augmenting the full-time staff there. The job of the Army Reserve could not be accomplished without military technicians.
Currently, there are more than 250 vacancies in various positions critical to maintaining the readiness of the U.S. Army Reserve. Recruitment incentives ranging from up to a $10,000 bonus and paid relocation expenses are available for many of these vacancies.
Vacancies typically include Heavy Mobile Equipment Repairer, Military Personnel and Administrative Assistant, materials handler, small arms repairer, motor vehicle operators, electronics repairer and many more. Current Army Reserve Soldiers interested in applying should visit www.usajobs.gov to find current vacancies available across the 88th RD region.
Why are MILTECHs so important? For the 88th Readiness Division that answer is simple: the scope and scale of the mission is too large for a unit to accomplish without the day-to-day work of dual status military technicians. Readiness posture requirements are achieved by the dual status military technicians filling a multitude of roles.
“Without the MILTECH program, there is no civilian workforce. Without the workforce, there is no maintenance of Army Reserve equipment. Without maintenance, the overall Reserve mission will fail,” said Jason Sikorski, supervisory maintenance management specialist, Directorate of Logistics, 88th Readiness Division.
In many cases, the MILTECHs working at a maintenance facility or a Reserve Personnel Action Center or any number of other locations serve as Soldiers in units directly impacted by the functions and missions they complete during a traditional workweek.
“That civilian making the needed repairs might be the Soldier that depends on that truck to save their life someday,” Sikorski said. “That brings an added sense of loyalty and verification the task was completed correctly to the table.”
For the AMSAs and Equipment Concentration Sites spread across the 19 states of the 88th RD, the sheer volume of work makes a well-stocked MILTECH program a necessity. Army Reserve Soldiers who are assigned to units either in that facility or elsewhere across the Army Reserve are working daily to ensure the equipment readiness needs of America’s Army Reserve are met. Turning wrenches and ensuring the day-to-day maintenance of the Army Reserve’s fleet of vehicles remains ready to fight.
“You get the time off to do your military (duty), which is really nice,” Tenbrink said. “It keeps you informed as to what your job is on the military side. So, if I were to go to a civilian job and then have to try to catch up on a drill weekend, it makes it a little more difficult. This way, kind of staying involved with it constantly, I’m not lacking anything. I know what’s happening day-to-day.”
The first priority for Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, is readiness. Everything the Army Reserve can and wants to do starts from there.
“Ultimately, we are working to sustain that level of readiness across the force in a more efficient and effective way,” Luckey said. “And we are going to continue to up our game when it comes to getting after combat readiness, capability, and lethality.”
The 88th RD and its dual status military technician program play an integral role in maintaining that readiness. Ensuring those positions are filled will positively impact the readiness levels of the Army Reserve as a whole.