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387th Maintenance Battalion

The U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) has worked very hard to establish a training program for its ordnance military occupational specialties (MOS's). All maintenance companies in the Army Reserve rotate for training to Camp Dodge, Iowa, and the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California. Sometimes they gain training through overseas missions or training at their home stations. This cycle does not include the many diverse maintenance support missions the units are involved in throughout the year. For example, maintenance companies regularly participate in exercises such as POLEX (a petroleum transportation field exercise) and Roving Sands (a joint air defense training exercise) and rotate to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Two of the five maintenance battalions in the Army Reserve, the 521st Maintenance Battalion at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and the 387th Maintenance Battalion at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, are implementing a maintenance training program called Operation Platinum Wrench (OPW). OPW is a 2- to 4-month program that integrates the operations of direct support (DS), general support (GS), and service (also known as collection and classification) companies under a unified training program. The concept, which was introduced in 1997 at Fort McCoy, uses USAR soldiers and facilities to support USAR installations and to rebuild and overhaul USAR equipment, thus saving limited USAR funds.

The 387th Maintenance Battalion rotated to Fort Hunter Liggett for OPW in June and July 1999. The 387th Maintenance Battalion was scheduled to head up the OPW mission at Fort Hunter Liggett for the following 3 years. During training year 1999, the 387th Maintenance Battalion, under the 63d Regional Support Command, hosted three maintenance companies at Fort Hunter Liggett. Each company sent only a slice of its unit to participate in OPW. The 387th Maintenance Battalion is hosted units assigned to the 223d and 271st Maintenance Companies (DS) and the 850th Service Company (Collection and Classification).

Spending a weekend at this Marine Corps base can be a learning experience - or torture - depending on your state of mind and body. That's what members of the 387th Maintenance Battalion, based in Los Alamitos, Calif., and its subordinate units found out during a field training exercise in early 1995. The advance party set up tents and prepared the training area for those who followed. The remaining soldiers arrived and secured their areas for a limited night's sleep.

The action began at daybreak. Soldiers practiced convoy operations, qualified with individual and crew-served weapons, and did nuclear-biological-chemical, camouflage, perimeter and staff training. The 478th Terminal Service Co. and the 294th Engineer Detachment also honed their skills during the exercise. Both units are based at Camp Pendleton. Other Los Alamitos-based units participating in the exercise included the 968th QM Co. and the 302nd Public Affairs Det. Members of the 489th Maint. Co., from San Bernardino, Calif., and the 440th Military Police Co., from Irvine, Calif., also participated in the training.

The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 4 Feb 1983, consisting of a light blue gear ring divided horizontally by a gold demi-sun bearing a red demi-gear charged with a gold fleur-de-lis, all above a black demi-disc in base; enclosing the bottom of the disc a gold motto scroll bearing the words "COMMITTED TO SUPPORT" in red letters. Red and light blue are the colors associated with maintenance units. The gold sun represents California, the unit's home area. The seven rays allude to the unit's seven World War II campaign credits. The red and blue gears suggest the unit's mission. The fleur-de-lis on the red background symbolizes the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded the unit for service in France. The red gear in combination with the black semicircle suggests a heraldic bomb, flamant, and alludes to the unit's first organization as an ordnance battalion.

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