Welcome to Tango Maintenance

by Cpl Justin Lawrenson
1 December 2009

It all started for me in February 2009. During an O`group back at 1 PPCLI, The Warrant Officer asked all the vehicle techs who wants a leopard course. Of course no body put up their hand. I mean really, who wants to work on leopard tanks. Everything is big and heavy and of course you’ll get posted to the Strathcona`s, who by the way is the hardest working shop on base. After about 5 Minutes of silence, I said “I’ll take the course``. Little did I know that it was going to be a long and interesting journey from then on. Not only did I get to miss the dreaded Suffield portion of the work up training exercise, I got spend the better part of my summer in Germany learning about the new Leopard 2 tank.

Once on the ground in Germany, we quickly learned how huge the new leopard 2 A6M tanks really were. Then we got to pull our first Power pack (Engine). That was an exciting experience. Every thing about the new tank made our jobs so much easier.

And now here we are in beautiful Kandahar Province Afghanistan. Living, working, and having fun in Forward Operating Base Ma`sum Ghar. The home of the Leopard.

Once I landed here Sgt Whelan, IC Tango Maint, drove me up to the shop on the gator. He then went on to explain how he had to borrow this gator, because Trooper Steve Lachance decided to drive ours up the mountain, which in turn caused it to catch fire. That was the end of the tango Maintenance gator for a while.

Once we arrived at the shop I had my first glance of what was going to be my ride for the next so many months. Calgary and Brutus. The two new Armoured Recovery Vehicle’s (ARV), at fist glance, they are the size of a small house, and the hardest working Vehicles in the fleet. Calgary named after the home town of Cpl Hornburg, a fallen comrade who lost his life while he worked tirelessly through sustained insurgent attacks to recover a disabled tank in September 2007. And Brutus, well we thought that the name just didn’t do it justice so we renamed it Leroy Brown...cause it’s the baddest man in the whole damn town.

So now that were here working it’s been pretty interesting using the new ARV. Everyday is a new adventure. We do everything, from going out on recovery calls to pick up something that has either broken down or blown up, to pulling tanks out of rivers in the pitch black of night, to picking up the back end of a dump truck so the driver could change his wheel.

So far the tour has been an extremely rewarding experience and I look forward to the months ahead to see what else comes our way. Until next time.