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A "Buffalo" armored vehicle is among those managed by Hough in Afghanistan.


MAINTENANCE OF THE FLEET


U.S. Army soldiers inspect engineering equipment for serviceability before missions. Vehicles use rollers and arms to find IEDs on routes all across Afghanistan.


In Afghanistan, the maintenance of the engi- neering equipment revolved around the harsh elements. Due to the lack of hard-top roads in many areas and the existence of many potholes, the sand would find its way into everything, and the 120-degree temperatures made maintenance efforts critical. Unit maintenance had to pay special attention to tire replacement, brakes, suspension replacements in leaf springs as well as entire front and rear ends. Maintenance specialist needed to keep filters clean and to continuously replace parts in order to keep air-conditioning systems operating. All of these maintenance areas were a part of an overall Army maintenance program,


which included daily, weekly and monthly service checks. In comparison to main- taining a bus fleet, the two things that seemed most similar to this type of opera- tion were regular inspection and repair of tires and brakes, as these components are key in regards to ensur- ing student safety. Much like in Afghani-


stan, the changing weather conditions, mountainous terrain, and stop-and-go traffic conditions in western North Carolina wear on tires and brakes constantly. Tire-tread depths have to be checked and tires changed regularly before reaching the minimum tread depth. Brake adjustment and lining is checked via a 30-day inspection program, and the mileage-based preventive maintenance program.


SAFETY FEATURES Te engineer equipment


used on the roads every day that search for IEDs (Improvised Explosive De- vices) receive many special safety attachments designed for their route clearance operations and for the safety of their personnel as well. Patrols are fitted with digi- tal tracking systems in order to follow the team’s location by headquarters staff. Te rollers for the heavy equip- ment and ground-pene- trating radar help to find buried IEDs. Coupled with this equipment are the use of special camera systems to observe both threats in the distance as well as negoti- ating IEDs when found for disarming and disposal. Equally, in North Car-


JOE HOUGH IS THE DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION FOR BUNCOMBE COUNTY SCHOOLS IN NORTH CAROLINA AS WELL AS A LIEUTENANT COLONEL IN NORTH CAROLINA GUARD. HE IS CURRENTLY SERVING WITH THE 139TH (RTI) COMBAT ARMS (CA) STATIONED AT FORT BRAGG, N.C.


olina, two of these safety features have been making their way onto school buses over the years. Camera systems have improved from simple hand-held cameras that were rigged to work in bulkhead compartments to the more advanced digital systems of today. Tis technology has helped maintain discipline on the buses and has also led


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