CW3 Jamie RiveraOrtiz
MSG Half-Mast recently travelled to Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan, to meet with CW3 Jaime L. RiveraOrtiz, the senior maintenance technician for the 10th Support Group (SG). The two discussed the challenges of sustaining equipment in the unique operating environment found on the island, with special emphasis on corrosion.
CW3 RiveraOrtiz was selected to become an MOS 915A (automotive maintenance) warrant officer in 2013. His military education includes the Joint Logistics Course (JLC), Automotive Warrant Officer Advance Course (WOAC), Automotive Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC), CBRN Defense Course, Lean Six Sigma (Green Belt), Special Operations Command Jumpmaster Course, Airborne Course, Support Operations PH1, as well as several Defense Acquisition University courses. Before assuming his current duties, he held numerous positions that include: battalion maintenance officer, group maintenance officer and senior maintenance officer. He’s also served on multiple overseas assignments that include four (4) tours in Afghanistan and a tour in Iraq.
MSG Half-Mast: Briefly describe the mission of the 10th SG, Torii Station, Okinawa.
Mr. RiveraOrtiz: The main function of the 10th SG is to conduct sustainment support operations for U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in theater's area of operations (AOR). The 10th SG supports numerous U.S. Forces and bilateral exercises and operations throughout the AOR, to include: reception, staging, onward movement and integration (RSOI); contingency sustainment; and base camp functions. The 10th SG is also a logistical hub for ammunition supply and distribution throughout Japan.
The unit’s alternate missions are to flex or scale its logistics and supply operations to support humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations throughout the region, as well as conduct non-combatant evacuation operations should they be necessary.
MSG Half-Mast: Could you explain for our readers how the environmental conditions on Okinawa impact your vehicles and equipment and the maintenance performed on them?
Mr. RiveraOrtiz: Okinawa is a beautiful island paradise located in the southernmost prefecture of Japan. The climate is sub-tropical, with remarkably hot and humid summers and frequent rainfalls throughout the year. Okinawa is in corrosive category four, which is considered high by international standards. These environmental conditions, and the base's proximity to the coastline, are some of the unique elements that contribute to accelerating corrosion of our equipment and its components.
For us maintainers, we must be more aware when conducting maintenance operations and ensure that any component we inspect, repair or replace is protected against the elements at all times.
LCU2000 watercraft before corrosion removal (left) and after (right)
MSG Half-Mast: What corrosion prevention tasks has your unit found to work best for your vehicles and equipment and what advice would you give to units in similar environments when it comes to mitigating the adverse effects of corrosion?
Mr. RiveraOrtiz: First, proper and frequent inspections are crucial for the early identification of corrosion indicators and help us address any signs immediately. During inspections, it’s important that all equipment parts are inspected, including hidden areas such as joints, crevices and seams.
In Okinawa, due to the highly humid environment, our equipment requires constant freshwater cleaning and rinsing to remove any dirt, salts, sand or other contaminants. Equipment free of dirt helps the maintenance personnel and operators observe components for those early indications of corrosion. In addition, having the right supplies, tools and protective compounds are essential for addressing the problem on the spot. The TACOM corrosion prevention and control (CPC) office has published a list on its website of corrosion-inhibiting compounds and tools that should be part of any unit's corrosion prevention and control program. That list can also be found in TB 43-0213, Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPAC) For Army Wheeled Vehicles (Mar 19).
MSG Half-Mast: What do you tell the most junior Soldiers in your unit about their responsibility for preventing corrosion in the first place and dealing with it if they find it?
Mr. RiveraOrtiz: Prevention comes down to equipment ownership and proper preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS). Soldiers should be using all available and updated technical publications to make sure they are inspecting their equipment to standard. They have a few critical obligations for corrosion prevention, including ensuring that their equipment is clean and free of dirt and also making sure they are applying the proper cleaning compounds to the equipment. They’re also responsible for inspecting, addressing and reporting any corrosion indicators or damages through their chain of leadership, as well as to maintenance personnel, by utilizing the equipment maintenance and inspection worksheet or corresponding work package checklist.
MSG Half-Mast: Please describe any corrosion prevention training you leverage or specific corrosion prevention resources that other units could benefit from.
Mr. RiveraOrtiz: There is an abundant amount of corrosion prevention resources available online for all Soldiers that should be part of every unit's training program. First, read your unit SOP, technical manuals, technical bulletins and regulations for procedural and regulatory guidance. For training, hands-on and in-person training by a subject-matter expert is, in my opinion, one of the most effective methods for prevention training. It allows trainers to observe that the tasks are being performed correctly and can provide instant feedback when necessary.
I frequently visit the TACOM CPC page online for up-to-date corrosion information and instructional aids, publications and handouts. The Unit Training Assistance Program (UTAP) is another excellent source of training material and videos for operators and maintainers. And finally, the Army Learning Management System (ALMS) now offers courses for Unit Corrosion Monitor Training and the Basic Corrosion Course for Operators. All these resources combined are essential.
Here are the links to the corrosion resources mentioned by CW3 RiveraOrtiz (you'll need your CAC to access):