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NEWS | July 29, 2022

88th Readiness Division Draw Yard offers forklift maintenance class for first time

By Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood 88th Readiness Division

For the first time, the 88th Readiness Division Draw Yard here hosted a Field Maintenance Level Course for the 5K Light Capability Rough Terrain Forklift July 25-28, 2022. The LCRTF is a C-130 and CH-47 sling load transportable, 5,000-pound capacity, variable-reach, rough-terrain forklift with fork tine oscillation and side-shift cab controls.

Trent Davenport, site manager of the Draw Yard, said this class was offered after it was suggested by Military Technicians and Soldiers. “We then presented this to the 88th leadership for approval and built the Plan of Instruction, said Davenport.

Ten students, five MILTECs and five Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 390th Engineer Company, 412th Theater Engineer Command, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, were taught how to execute Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services, learned about the vehicle’s hydraulics, brakes, transmission, the four-cylinder diesel engine, and how to tow another forklift.

The latter was something that will definitely be instituted in the class, said Logistic Sustainment Training instructor Brant Amble.

Each student took turns towing another forklift around a parking lot at the Draw Yard. Amble told the students that this allowed them to learn how to tow a vehicle that weighs the same. “It is not something you are not going to do long term but in the motor pool, you may be forced to do that,” said Amble.

“Turn wide,” said Chris Reichert, a heavy mobile equipment repairer at Area Maintenance Support Activity-139, Madison, Wis., and staff sergeant assigned to the Army Reserve's 469th Engineer Company, 416th Engineer Command based in Dodgeville, Wis. He was referring to the turning method because the vehicles are close to each other while towing, which means the turning radius must be wide.

Reichert, who said this was the first time he towed a vehicle with a forklift, said that students must not use the four-wheel steer mode either while towing a vehicle. The four-wheel steering mode, which is used for load manipulation in and around obstacles, has a tighter turn circle.

Amble admitted that he didn’t know not to put the forklift in four-wheel steer while towing. There are two other steering modes, two-wheel, and crab where all four wheels steer in the same direction or sideways.

For Spc. Evan Allinder, 390th Engineer Company, 412th Theater Engineer Command, it was the first time he towed anything. “It was enjoyable, said Allinder who has been in the Reserve almost four years and a driver for a major package company. “I liked it. It is an interesting machine.”

Amble liked how this vehicle is simple when it comes to the electrical components. For one thing, it has no ABS traction control, he said.

It may be integrated into his Practical Hydraulics course. The reason is that it has three hydraulic pumps and a hydraulic drive motor.

Robert Stutesman, a MILTEC at Equipment Concentration Site-67, Fort McCoy, and a sergeant first class assigned to the 13th Battalion/100th Regiment at the fort, said he liked the “hands-on” portion of this class. His intention was to learn tips, tricks and nuances.

Amble pointed out he determines how much “hands on” instruction a class will have by identifying the students’ experiences. If they are experienced, he will not do as much “hands on” training.

“If I get young kids in the class, they’re doing everything,” said Amble. “The Army is where people learn to do stuff for the first time. If you don’t give them the opportunity, they won’t do it.”