Soldiers save the Army money

The maintenance section with the 35th Signal Brigade, A Company, 51st Signal Battalion (Expeditionary). The soldiers recently fixed an engine for $68, an engine swap out could have potentially cost the Army $10,000.

The maintenance section with A Company, 51st Signal
Battalion (Expeditionary), 35th
Signal Brigade. The soldiers recently fixed an engine for $68, an engine swap out could have potentially cost the Army $10,000.

They didn’t exactly MacGyver it, but the end result is just as great; a possible engine swap on a Humvee that could have cost the Army $10,000 took only a $68 fix thanks to some fiscally minded soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The maintenance section of A company, 51st Signal Battalion (Expeditionary) first received the Humvee after the drivers noticed the exhaust was spewing engine oil, said Spc. Jason Sabisky, a wheeled vehicle mechanic. Turns out the engine head had two faulty valves. According to their standard operating procedures that meant they would have to send it to the next level of maintenance, usually civilian contractors, to get it fixed, Sabisky said.

That meant the Humvee would have to sit on the motor pool deadlined, possibly for months, said Pfc. Tamara Florriech, one of the wheeled vehicle mechanics who helped fix the engine. Not to mention the engine might have to be swapped at a possible $10,000 cost.

 “It’s toward the end of the fiscal year and units are trying to tighten up budgets,” said Staff Sgt. Erin Silden, the motor sergeant.

So the mechanics decided to fix the engine themselves. Sabisky, who is one of two Automotive Service Excellence certified mechanics at the shop, had the knowledge to diagnose the problem with the Humvee engine.

After running it up their chain, the soldiers took on the job and the maintenance shop was able to fix the engine with a $65 gasket set and a $3 valve grinding compound.

“It saved a lot of money and turn-around time. It also builds trust in the unit that their mechanics are technically proficient and can do that type of repair,” Silden said.

That’s the sort of ingenuity that ought to make sense to Uncle Sam, and American taxpayers, too.



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  1. CW3 Vino, Mark on

    It’s nice to have the time to properly demonstrate what it means to being a Mechanic and diagnose properly instead of being a parts swapper. The training our mechanics receive is poor to say the least especially trying to teach someone to repair a vehicle when they never even repaired their bicycle as a kid. If the Army invested time towards training motorpools could save the Army tens of millions each year. I hold sixe ASE Certifications and use them towards Power Point.

  2. I bet there are alot of civilian workers upset about that they could do the job, well and for less. I have seen the civilians get upset if you even thought about intruding on something they think is theirs. But sometime a simple idea comes from the enlisted who think about the mission and not the time they put in the job for cost.

  3. I sat in Afghanistan managing contractors that were doing my job for 10x what I got paid. How about we start putting soldiers back to work instead of outsourcing to companies getting no-bid contracts? $10,000 is peanuts in comparison to the billions being spent on leeches.

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