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By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane. 133rd Mobile Public Affairs
RICHMOND, Ky. – Several mechanics from around the state
shared their knowledge and expertise with a small group of Ecuadorian mechanics
as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP) Sept 16-20.
This is the second time the Ecuadorians have been able to
make a visit to Kentucky and conduct training in a National Guard Combined
Support Maintenance Shop.
“It’s a great experience for us and a great experience for
them to train side by side,” said 1st Sgt. Ramon Perales, who is a mechanic
working at the MATES on Fort Knox.
A few of the different projects the Soldiers worked together
on were an engine swap on a 1097 Humvee and a transmission swap on an 1165 Humvee.
Working together allowed the Soldiers from both countries to
have the opportunity to not only learn how each country does things differently
in the shop, it also showed them how each others cultures, though different,
were a lot a like.
“We get to see the cultural differences between our
organizations as we interact with our society compared to how they interact here
in our society,” said Perales.
Where they must get creative in what they can do because of available
resources, we can be perceived as an organization that has unlimited resources.
This isn’t always the case. We are working alongside our counterparts to learn
from each other and steadily progress. It’s a slow and steady process.”
Thanks to several Spanish-speaking Soldiers within the
mechanic shops, all the troops were able to talk to each other without much
confusion and added stress.
“The language barrier is not a problem, we have some good
interpreters here,” said Staff Sgt. Cleveland Willoughby, 307th Support Maintenance
Company inspector at the CSMS. “A lot of
the Ecuadorians speak English fairly well so if you speak to them slowly they
understand what you are saying.”
One of the main differences between the two countries is the
availability of resources. Getting the tools to do the job in Ecuador isn’t
always easy, whereas it is something we have few problems getting here.
“The tools make the job easier and the work faster,” stated Diego
Tuquinga, a Soldier in the 125th Central Maintenance Unit with the Ecuadorian
military, who has spent all eight years of his military experience as a general
Having the tools to do the job certainly made things easier
for the Soldiers who are used to having to do a lot of the work by hand. But
that work ethic really helps accomplish the mission and impressed the American
“Working with them is a treat because they work incredibly
hard and we got a lot accomplished faster than we expected because they have a
lot of knowledge coming into the shop,” said Willoughby. “They have taught us
quite a bit about the TCMS on the Humvee as well. How they do things is a lot
different. They rebuild a lot, where we replace a lot.”
Overall the experience for the Soldiers has been positive
and something they all can take back to their respective shops and add to their
proverbial toolboxes as well as their literal toolboxes.
“The training has been excellent,” added Tuquinga.
The Kentucky National Guard has partnered with Ecuador for
more than two decades as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership
Program (SPP). The goal of the SPP is to develop and maintain important
security relationships between the United States and other nations sharing a
long-term view of common interests.
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