Soldiers expand skills to give back to unit 

8/15/2011 

 
BAGHDAD—Sgt. Christopher Brown, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 25th Infantry Division’s Military Maintenance Team, Spc. Travis Jones, a member of the 25th Inf. Div. MMT, Capt. Julie Leggett, the chief of protocol for the 25th Inf. Div., and Sgt. John Lockwood, a member of the 25th Inf. Div. MMT, put together the finishing pieces of a plaque for a visiting general officer in the MMT shop at Camp Liberty, Iraq, July 14, 2011.
Story and photo by Spc. Breeanna J. DuBuke, 29th MPAD, USD-C 

BAGHDAD Changing light bulbs, repairing floors and other routine maintenance are things a Military Maintenance Team are used to.  A MMT is responsible for making sure all facilities are mission-ready for the unit they are assigned.

A part of being in a MMT is being ready at a moment’s notice to fix any maintenance problems that occur throughout a unit.

“We’re just trying to make everything happen at the drop of a hat,” said Sgt. Christopher Brown, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 25th Infantry Division’s MMT.

But for Brown and two other Soldiers with the 25th ID, their craftiness has led them to do other projects outside their usual occupation.

For the past few months, the 25th Inf. Div.’s MMT has been challenging themselves to create wooden artwork for their unit.

“This is no where near our job description,” said Brown, a native of Jackson, Tenn.

The projects started with the unit symbol, the tarot leaf, Brown said.

The tarot leaf project is a three-layered wooden piece that has a tarot leaf base painted red, a smaller tarot leaf painted yellow centered on the base and is finished with a red lightning bolt.

“We’re just trying to give back to the unit we’re in,” said Sgt. John Lockwood, a member of the 25th Inf. Div.’s MMT.

Overall, the team has made over 40 varied tarot leaf projects that have been scattered throughout the unit grounds in Camp Liberty, Iraq.

Since that first project, the team’s work has become more intricate and detailed, allowing them to make various plaques for command sergeants major and general officers.

“They can do so much more detail now,” said Capt. Julie Leggett, the chief of protocol for the 25th Inf. Div.

However, the team didn’t start off with the knowledge that they have now.

For one member of the team, this is his first experience producing these types of projects.

“When I first got here, I didn’t know anything,” said Spc. Travis Jones, a member of the New York Army National Guard, 442nd Military Police Company, who is part of the 25th Inf. Div.’s MMT. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life.”

Although Brown and Lockwood had previous experience working with some of the tools required for their projects, the creative assignments challenge them to learn new techniques and adapt to their circumstances.

“We’re still learning,” said Lockwood, a native of Albuquerque, N.M. “We’re making it up as we go.”

Their usual duties of being the MMT has allowed the three Soldiers to take advantage of discarded supplies to help them practice and expand their skills.

“Since [the unit] is re-utilizing a lot of things, we’ve just been able to be in the right place at the right time [to obtain the supplies],” said Lockwood, who plans on building his own house when he gets home. “We’re lucky that our schedule is flexible enough to be able to work on these projects.”         

However, the Soldiers appreciated the fact that they will go home with new skills.

“I now have the confidence to do things I would have normally paid someone to do back home,” said Jones, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native.

Although the team devotes itself to improving its skills with the extra projects, the Soldiers of the 25th Inf. Div. MMT equally devote themselves to their mission of keeping the facilities up and running for their fellow Soldiers.