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3rd ID welders ingenuity helping troops

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POSTED: March 10, 2010 1:46 p.m.
U.S. Army photo/

Pfc. Andrew Lamar, Forward Support Company, 1st Desert Rogue Battalion, 64th Armor, shows off the bracket that he and fellow soldier Pfc. Chad Loskota created.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — Two soldiers from 1st “Desert Rogue” Battalion, 64th Armor, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, recently used their ingenuity to improve the configuration for a battery box for the forward observer’s long-range scope more efficient.   
“Our command asked who could weld, so that’s how I ended up here,” said Pfc. Chad Loskota, who prior to joining the U.S. Army used to fabricate and weld parts for off-road racing in his hometown of Lancaster, Calif.
Working outside of their military occupation specialty is nothing new to soldiers deployed to Iraq. With the U.S. military shifting focus from combat operations to stability and training, many units find soldiers within their ranks with special skills and talent.
“We’re both actually Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanics, however, when our command needed welders we both just volunteered,” said Pfc. Andrew Lamar, from Coosbay, Ore.
Loskota and Lamar make up the welding duo deemed the “dream team” because of their ingenuity and ability to create nearly anything.
“Recently, we were asked to build something that can hold the battery box for the forward observer vehicle’s long-range scope,” Loskota said. “The problem with the current design was that the box was just held in place with two straps in the back of the vehicle up against the tire well.”
Sometimes the straps came loose, causing the battery box to fall out of the vehicle. Because the box was strapped down, soldiers had trouble accessing the batteries inside the casing.  There were also heating issues with the battery case being sandwiched against the tire well.
Loskota and Lamar only needed 30 minutes to draw up a design superior to the original.
“It really didn’t take very long for us to come up with something for the battery case that far exceeded the original, so much so that the Army is looking at the design to implement it throughout the U.S. military,” Loskota said.
At first, both Loskota and Lamar did not think too much about the design until the Desert Rogue command liked it so much he presented the concept to the Army ideas team for use throughout the force.
“Whether or not the Army uses the idea and purchases the patent to it was not our intent. We just think that it is great the Army likes the design enough to use it on all of their forward observation vehicles,” Loskota said.  “We just want to do our part to help make other soldiers’ jobs easier and safer.”
 

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