Saturday, February 26, 2011

Skill Sets

One of the cool things about being in the Army, or just the military in general, is that it gives you a hands-on way to learn about a lot of practical things.

For our convoy training tomorrow, we had to get some HMMWVs ready today. Part of that process inolves PMCS (Preventative Measures, Checks and Services). In other words, we had to make sure the vehicles were ready to go. I could've pulled the "I'm an Officer" card and sort of just slunk back to the rear, but that's not my way. Now, I know my way around the area under the hood of a Hummer, and can do all the basic services, checks, and fluids. I can also load frequencies into the radios and set up the vehicle's interior comms system.

Even just 24 hours ago, I woudn't have been able to say that.

For the rest of our time mobilized, I'll periodically try to *capture* new opportunities to develop new skills. Covering them here will give me a great way to look back down the line and say, "Oh yeah...that's where I learned about setting up that MacGyver-looking tennis ball toaster bomb. That thing was pretty cool!"

But seriously, though...people always talk about making themselves better on their deployments. 9 times out of 10, that's going to be a diet or exercise reference, but another way I might take it on is by concentrating on practical skills (basic mechanical, building repair, vehicle maintenance, etc.) and thereby growing my personal toolkit in an area where it feels a bit light sometimes.


Progressive Veterans said...

Remember our deal, Cpt. Handyman? No getting electrocuted in the shower.


kad barma said...

Just out of college I worked a stint in an auto parts operation, coincidentally next to a bunch of guys who had been rebuilding and repairing their own cars since High School. I came by a '73 Plymouth Valiant (225 straight six) and wound up eventually having to replace literally every single braking part on the car. (Every single one--wheel cylinders, drums and shoes, even the hydraulic lines from the master cylinder along with the master cylinder itself). Economics may have been the primary reason I didn't pay someone else to do it all, but I took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a master class from folks who knew their way around cars, and did it all for myself right there in the parking lot after work. I still don't know how to do engine internals, (those in-line Chrysler sixes NEVER failed), but I'm pretty good with everything else, from suspension to exhaust to brakes to drive trains. (Did a friend's U-joints on a '63 Imperial in the breakdown lane of 128 in Waltham once). It's remarkable how many ways such practical knowledge pays off in "real" life. And, not for nothing, but it lets me pay my mechanic bills these days with confidence and happiness. (Think a military hummer would fit underneath Zoo Market? It'd make a great all-around-town car for sure).