The Army, more than just artillery - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

The Army, more than just artillery

PFC Nathon Saxman, a mechanic, works hard keeping military vehicles in top condition. (Source KSWO) PFC Nathon Saxman, a mechanic, works hard keeping military vehicles in top condition. (Source KSWO)
PFC Abraham Sandoval is an assistant to the chaplain. He cares for the church and serves as a body guard during war. (Source KSWO) PFC Abraham Sandoval is an assistant to the chaplain. He cares for the church and serves as a body guard during war. (Source KSWO)
Sgt. Timothy Jones inspects food to keep our military safe. (Source KSWO) Sgt. Timothy Jones inspects food to keep our military safe. (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - Fort Sill's mission is to train artillery soldiers and train them well by transforming volunteers into soldiers.

While the men and women behind the booms of cannons and exploding artillery often receive the most credit, there's a team of soldiers whose jobs on post are just as crucial. Without some of Fort Sill's most unassuming jobs, the Army's premier artillery base could be brought to a standstill.

CHAPLAIN'S ASSISTANT

For religious affairs specialist PFC Abraham Sandoval, his role in the Army is twofold.

“I feel like not only am I serving my country, but I'm serving God as well in a way,” Sandoval said.

Two years ago, Sandoval joined the Army. With a little encouragement from his mother, he decided to become a chaplain's assistant.

His duties at Fort Sill's Frontier Chapel vary from day to day, but Sandoval says, for the most part, it's a career path that brings him joy and others peace.

“It's always a good feeling knowing that everyone is happy to see us and excited to see us," Sandoval said.

If deployed, Sandoval's job could take him from the sanctity of a chapel and into the depravities of war. When chaplains are called to war to bring comfort to soldiers facing their darkest fears and doubts, it's their job to follow.

“Chaplains do not carry a weapon when we go to deployments, and that's where we come in, we are like their bodyguards. Usually, we walk, he walks behind us so we can see what's in front of us, and when we go on patrol he'll stay on my right or my left side just depending on where we are,” Sandoval said.

Though they are unarmed men of the cloth chaplains, they are often targeted by the enemy.

“Because he's a religious symbol to the soldiers and the unit, not only that, but he's a high-ranking officer, most of the times captains and above, and so, he's really targeted just for being an officer and religious symbol and a lot of countries that don't agree with it makes him an even bigger target,” Sandoval said.

FOOD INSPECTION

It takes a team of people, like assistant project manager Rondia Davis, to order and prep the more than 30 tons of food that will pass through a kitchen weekly in order to feed an army.

“It's like a commercial facility, like a Burger King or Golden Corral. Very hectic, very hectic,” Davis explained.

While Davis and her crew work the front lines, Sgt. Timothy Jones is behind the scenes in the dining facility.

“One of the generals said that the gut of the military drives the military,” said Jones.

Unlike most soldiers who come here to dine, more often than not Jones, a food inspection NCO, is here to work. On just about any day of the week, you can catch Jones and his team popping up anywhere on Fort Sill where food is being prepared and served to make sure the cleanliness of the facility and quality of food is up to par.

“We make sure military food don't kill you,” said Jones.

Part of his job requires him to keep an eye out for terroristic attack against food or intentional contamination. That's why nothing can be left to chance. One oversight on their part could have devastating consequences.

“That is a huge blow depending on what they do, what their mission is towards the military, 800-900 people get sick at one time is a complete shutdown of a whole installation,” Jones said.

MECHANIC

PFC Nathon Saxman, a wheel vehicle mechanic, works hard on Army vehicles to ensure they are in working condition.

“We are pulling an engine and replacing an engine on a Humvee,” Saxman said.

Just two years ago before joining the Army, he had never been around any machine of this size, but what was once intimidating, is now second nature. Saxman can also operate the vehicles he repairs.

CW2 automotive maintenance warrant officer Ian Mason says in the Army, both skillsets go hand in hand.

“The importance of knowing how to operate the vehicle first is that you know what it is supposed to do and what it is capabilities are. Without knowing how to operate it, they may not be able to diagnose or even identify the faults that the vehicle is having,” said Mason.

What happens in the garage is critical with the looming possibility that the vehicles may end up in war.

“Well, the importance of the guys that work here is that whenever a vehicle goes out to do its war time mission, it has to be mechanically ready to do that, and the guys that work in this motor pool are the ones that make sure it's mechanically ready to operate,” Mason said.

Mason says while most of these guys go home covered in grease and sore, there's no doubt about the critical role they play while in the Army.

“These guys are the behind the scenes guys that don't necessarily get all the glorious credit for the rounds landing on the target or enemy, but without these guys, the Army would come to a standstill and we would not be able to fight,” Mason said.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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