PMCS, end of day, COB, WTF?

With all the politics, you dear reader, may not know that I am currently a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss Texas. We in the military are know for using acronyms that baffle the common civilian. If you know a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman you might have heard these terms:

  1. PMCS (Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services)
  2. End of Day/ Close of Business

PMCS is the ounce of prevention that keeps all Army equipment running. Sure you check the oil and tranny fluid in your car. You make sure that your tires are properly inflated. You may even get you car serviced at the shop. However PMCS is more than that.

We check every nut and bold. Tires? We look for cuts, dents worn treads. Even though we have run-flats, we still check’em. You may get away with forgetting to check you tires, but people can die if a HMMWV has a flat in the wrong place. Lights? Always, in fact the Army is moving towards having more running, parking and taillights to LED’s. Light emitting diodes fade with time, they don’t just go out. Fluids are topped off, brakes are checked. But we go further. Chassis are inspected. A nut loose, rust or cracks in the wrong place can spell disaster. You may have a generator or have seen one in action. It is noisy and you don’t give it much thought. If our generators die, people die. generators power everything from Patriot radar screens, mobile kitchens, to guard posts and hospitals.
And it’s done on every Monday (“motorpool Monday”). Some old, old soldiers call it Motor Stables (which shows you just how long this has been going on.
Before a vehicle moves, it gets checked. Every tank, bradley, truck, HMMWV, trailer, generator etc. If it has parts and can move, we are to to PMCS it.

The Army uses a comic book like magazine, Preventive Maintenance Monthly, to keep soldiers up to date on maintenance issues. It was started during the Vietnam war to train service members on the M-16. They got into trouble with J.K. Rowling, LOL! However the magazine is online for any soldier to download.

End of Day/COB is that magical time when all work stops. The First Sergeant, or Command Sergeant Major will hold a formation after which the unit is dismissed. On weekends we get a safety brief. While it’s a laundry list of do’s and dont’s, we listen. Most of the don’ts come from risky behaviors that got soldiers killed. Every unit has numbers for soldiers to call when they are too tipsy to drive. From Commanders to sergeants to taxi cabs. We are briefed on the next day or week and we are sent on our way.

P.S. Brad has a couple of real good write-ups on how supply works in the army.

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