FORT CARSON, Colo. –
Stocked with employees both seasoned and new, the 88th Readiness Division’s equipment concentration site here ensures Army Reserve units across the Front Range have a place for their equipment to be stored and maintained.
Those employees of ECS 42, which consists of separate storage and maintenance branches, are a mix of Department of the Army Civilians, dual status military technicians and contractors. Many of the military technicians belong to units that are serviced by the facility.
“We have a pretty good group,” said Matthew Hansford, manager, ECS 42. “We have a pretty wide spectrum as far as experience and knowledge. We have some younger guys who are getting into the program young and getting that knowledge. They are enthusiastic, they want to learn, they want to do it, which is great. We have some of the older guys who have been around a long time, they’ve been there, done that, they’ve got multiple deployments under their belts so they’re sharing that knowledge with these younger guys.”
The mission of this ECS assists more than 50 separate units spread across various locations in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico by maintaining more than 10,000 individual pieces of equipment. This equipment can be used for a variety of training at either the Mountain Post or other training locations in the area.
“When the units come here for loans, they have to borrow equipment from us if they don’t have it at home station,” said Gregory Thompson, temporary maintenance supervisor, ECS 42. “They have to come here for everything from their water buffalos to their tents, their cots, their heaters. We store all that here so we have to keep up with all that equipment.”
Maintaining that equipment between uses is the bulk of the task here. The facility workload is scheduled to be shared by more than 60 employees. However, Hansford said he currently has about 50 employees on hand.
“It goes back to teamwork you learn as a young Soldier,” he said of how they try to keep pace with the maintenance priorities. “Teamwork is everything. One of the things we work a lot on is the cross training. Because if one person goes down, somebody else has to be able to stand up in their position and do the job.”
Currently, there are seven employees mobilized in support of the 11th Combat Aviation Brigade, but the mission to maintain the equipment persists.
“When you’re short personnel, there’s always opportunities for people to step in and fill somebody else’s shoes,” Hansford said. “We’ll rotate through any of those who want to pick up the experience and the time that helps fill that shortage. It also, in my eyes, it helps enhance the overall workforce for the Army Reserve.”
For those MILTECHs that continue to work at ECS 42, the skills they reinforce are able to be put to use to improve the readiness of their assigned Army Reserve units, some of which are in the preparation for other mobilizations in support of the Army missions around the world.
“We have units getting ready to deploy, units organically don’t have the maintenance capabilities or time to maintain all of their equipment,” said Josh Show, the motor vehicle operator storage branch supervisor, ECS 42. “That is what we do here. We take care of the equipment they can’t maintain so that it’s ready when they get the call to go overseas to support America’s mission.”
The mission of readiness never stops at ECS 42. To help better accomplish that mission, Hansford is always recruiting and looking for more people to join the team.
“Someone, maybe they’re young, new to the Army Reserve, don’t have a lot of experience, but they have the ability, the mechanical aptitude and they want to learn, trying to get them in young and mold them and train them,” Hansford said of the typical employee he is seeking.
The work may seem to be never-ending, but Hansford and the team at ECS 42, they enjoy what they do and the people they work with.
“I try to recruit guys that are coming here, you can and will get a lot of knowledge and experience,” Thompson said. “I try to use that to motivate people. I enjoy working here.”