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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Feb. 15, 2023

Oklahoma Guard hosts second annual Mechanic of the Year competition

By Sgt. Reece Heck, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen gathered to put their mechanic skills to the test at the second annual Mechanic of the Year competition held at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop in Norman, Oklahoma, Feb. 8, 2023.

Eight four-man teams represented their respective maintenance shops from around the state to show off their skills and prove who is the best mechanic, while also getting to network amongst fellow competitors.

“The benefit of doing a competition like this is esprit-de-corps we get all our mechanics together, share our knowledge, and we get to learn from each other,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Roger Farley, shop foreman for CSMS. “What this does is expand the overall readiness of the Oklahoma National Guard.”

The teams rotated through nine different events where they were graded on five questions and five hands-on evaluation steps for a total of 10 points at each event. The team and individual who earned the most points throughout to competition was named the winner.

These events included welding, wiring, inspection of vehicles, loading, and administrative tasks such as ordering parts and logging deficiencies.

“Maintenance is a Soldier task,” Farley said. “Our mechanics happen to be specialists in the maintenance field. Hosting this competition has allowed us to spotlight some of our rockstar mechanics and get them some recognition that they deserve.”

Sgt. 1st Class Cody Swearengin won the individual mechanic of the year award, while members of Field Maintenance Shop 5 out of Ada, Oklahoma won the team award. Members of FMS 5 included Sgt. 1st Class Malachi McCary, Staff Sgt. Russell Gatzke, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hutchins, and Sgt. Samuel Smith.

Members of the team will move on to the national competition held at Camp Williams, Utah in March to represent the Oklahoma Army National Guard, where they will compete against nine states and display their skills on a national level.
“We’ve done a good job with [the national competition], as our team from Oklahoma won last year,” Farley said. “We hope for a repeat this year.”
Video by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa
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