In preparation for next week’s FTX, I had to go to the motor pool and PMCS our vehicles. Incredibly, out of a class of 15 NCOs, I was the only one with a valid military driver’s license, which meant that only I could check the oil in the three trucks we were assigned.
The first HMMWV was fine – in surprisingly good condition, fully functional, and even reasonably clean. The second seemed good as well – it started right up, and was in similar condition to the first. However, I noticed that the cooling fan wasn’t spinning when the engine was running (the hood was up at this point), and after stopping the engine, I noticed what looked like a rubber belt, just laying on top of the engine compartment. Sure enough, it was one of the fan belts, torn in half. Another was missing completely (there are a total of four), making the vehicle inoperable.
The third and final vehicle was a venerable 5-ton truck, a vehicle for which I have no license and no experience. Helpfully, the specialist at the academy said, “there should be a manual in there,” not knowing that I love manuals and always read them. Sure enough, there was a manual in old B201, so I gave myself a crash course on starting the 5-ton and conducting PMCS.
Unfortunately, the old beast cranked but would not start; it just wheezed and belched a thick cloud of white smoke from the exhaust stack but wouldn’t turn over. I was able to start the neighboring truck (thus validating my technique), but that truck had a flat tire so was no use to me.
Later, a mechanic was able to start the 5-ton; as with computers, so it goes with vehicles, where sometimes the only requirement for function is the magic touch of an expert. I’m not sure what good this does us, though, since nobody in the class is licensed to drive the beast.