Dirty Job: MLRS crew member

by Pfc. Oh, Jae-woo
U.S. Army

CAMP CASEY, South Korea - The firepower used on today's battlefield has evolved over many centuries, to include field artillery weaponry, which has become a crucial component on the Korean Peninsula. Perhaps more evolved than the technology itself are the professionals who operate it.

Routinely found completing dirty and greasy tasks to ensure vehicle functionality, Spc. Steven Koroza, a Multiple Launch Rocket System crew member and gunner assigned to Battery B, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, can be considered one of those highly adapted operators.

As a Soldier charged with maintaining and operating a heavy-duty weapon, Koroza has a lot on his plate, including calling up fire missions and deploying the launchers.

"During the field, I call up the missions," he said. "When we are ready and stationed, I call the Battery Operations Center and say we are waiting for fire missions. The BOC will send us the fire mission and, at that time, I adjust the panels and deploy the launcher by saying 'fire when ready' or 'on my command'."

When not in a field environment, however, MLRS crews shift their focus from firing missions to system maintenance, he said.

"We have to make sure everything is tight, greased down in all the appropriate places and that nothing is broken down or leaking," he said.

That part of the job often requires crew members to get dirty in order to complete their maintenance tasks. Wiping old grease and scraping exhaust residues from cables and rocket holders are one of the many important aspects of their maintenance duties.

Keeping the machinery clean is an important readiness element because proper maintenance maximizes the effectiveness of MLRS, said Koroza, a Baltimore, Maryland, native.

If the conditions of the systems are not in "tip-top-shape," the communication systems may fail or cause the launch system to malfunction or misfire. That's why Koroza, and MRLS crew members, go to great lengths performing preventative maintenance checks and services each week.

"It starts on Monday, when you are in the motor pool," said Koroza. "

"You have to be a hard worker and be able to work under pressure," he continued. "Having a 'go-get-it' attitude is a valuable mindset of MLRS crew member."

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