At the ready
L&A’s field service representatives work long and hard to support the front line
They deploy to remote, often hazardous locations. They are assigned to units. They respond to the needs of the troops with whom they serve. And they spend months away from their families.
That may sound like a military job description. But those are the requirements for many of Land & Armament’s field service representatives (FSRs). Their jobs demand that they work behind the scenes, day and night, at home and abroad, to support the warfighter.
“We are always ready and we go wherever and whenever required,” said Robert Crews, Director of Field Services for L&A.
“Our people work side by side with the troops. They may be involved with support units directly, testing, production support or installing modifications. That may require us to serve overseas in combat zones or support the customer in the U.S. at military and non-military sites.”
More than half the FSRs are military veterans and active members of the reserve component, which brings additional value to the support they provide to the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.
“Working in the support element of the L&A business provides an opportunity for our team to make a difference, which we all find very fulfilling,” said Robert Houston, Vice President, Support and Technical Services.
A Global Reach
During a six-month deployment in South Korea this year, a 40-person team fitted Bradley fighting vehicles with the Urban Survivability Kit (BUSK III) and other new vehicle enhancements.
“Despite a late increase in scope, the Support & Technical Services Field Service Vehicle Modification Team didn’t skip a beat and completed the mission four weeks ahead of schedule and 20 per cent under budget,” said Robert.
“Not only that, all the while the guys continued to run the modification production line at their Temple facility in Texas.” [The team in Temple runs a continual Bradley upgrade program to ensure vehicle readiness].
A similar mission in Kuwait supports an Army fleet of vehicles pre-positioned there in case of emergency, known as Army Pre-positioned Stock (APS) site number five.
They are responsible for maintaining and servicing 355 vehicles, including Bradley variants, M113 armored personnel carriers, M88A1 and M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicles, M109 self-propelled howitzers, M992 ammunition support vehicles, and M9 Armored Combat Earthmovers.
“What we do enables the Army to maintain its focus on the mission. In the event of deployment, we ensure that the customer has immediate access to operation-ready equipment. We also help deploying units off-load and process vehicles for their return stateside,” said Robert.
Where teams are embedded with military personnel, representatives are assigned directly to a unit and deploy with them, providing technical support, service and training. FSR personnel have deployed with units to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
“Our MRAP and M88 recovery vehicle FSRs are deployed to Afghanistan with Army and Marine Corps special operations command units,” said Robert. “In Iraq, they have also supported foreign military sales. As Iraq re-establishes itself as a sovereign nation, our FSR team is fielding vehicles to the Iraqi Army and training its soldiers on how to operate and maintain them.”
In another success story, an MRAP special projects team has built two facilities in Afghanistan. During the modification of hundreds of MRAPS the facilities saved the customer both time and money by eliminating shipping costs for hundreds of vehicles.
The field service teams also provide critical support for the Navy. Based in Minneapolis, the organization has pier-side facilities in San Diego, California, Norfolk, Virginia and Mayport, Florida.
The 60-strong Navy FSR team is responsible for the maintenance, repair and modernization of BAE Systems naval guns. In one current activity, the Navy has called for a total of 429 MK38 gun mounts to be installed on virtually all of the surface combatants in the fleet. Destroyers, cruisers, amphibious support ships, frigates and Coast Guard patrol vessels are all part of this “pier-side” program.
Because of its location, the MK38 system is subject to salt spray and resultant corrosion, requiring pier-side overhauls approximately every five years. The program holds significant opportunity for long-term work with the Navy Field Service organization.
“Whether it is the Army, Navy or Marine Corps, when the customer calls upon us, we build a strong and capable team to support their needs so they can fulfill their peacetime or wartime missions,” concluded Robert.
*The main picture above shows FSR John Carrico assisting with M109 Paladin gun inspections while embedded with his supported unit in Iraq