CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium –
More than a few tanks, armored vehicles and other Army tactical vehicles have been spotted at various locations across Europe recently, but what really stands out to many is their color.
No longer are people witnessing the desert tan color they’ve grown accustomed to for the past 20 plus years. Instead, it’s back to the days of old with a fresh coat of olive drab green – or OD green – and a small team at Logistics Readiness Center Benelux is helping to make that happen.
Giancarlo Giardina is a maintenance supervisor at LRC Benelux, 405th Army Field Support Brigade. He said he and two automotive mechanic paint and body shop specialists have been tasked with painting more than 150 vehicles and equipment pieces for the 405th AFSB’s Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux.
“We found out quickly the preparation is much harder than we thought,” Giardina said. “We don’t paint the entire piece of equipment so we have to mask off certain areas, and that takes a lot of time.”
And before the paint team uses any masking tape and paper to protect certain areas from the paint – such as portions of the gun turret on a Humvee or door handles, lights and windows – paint preparation also includes thoroughly degreasing the vehicles and equipment pieces as well as mixing the base paint with the hardener compound.
To paint one Humvee and trailer set takes about three days, according to Giardina, two days of prep and one day of painting. And to ensure maximum efficiency, LRC Benelux constructed a second paint area, which supplements the LRC’s paint booth.
In addition, a filtration system as well as top of the line respirators and associated personal protective equipment were purchased to ensure the safety and protection of the paint team.
“Right now, our flowchart is two Humvees and two trailers a week,” said Patrick Brown, LRC Benelux maintenance chief, adding that most of the items LRC Benelux is currently painting OD green are Humvees and trailers, plus a few generators.
During the earliest days of the war in Iraq, the Army went through a complete transformation in order to get all of its OD green vehicles and equipment pieces painted tan, “but now we’ve come full circle,” Brown said. “The old tan paint is going away, and OD green is back.”
“We’ve been raising the flag, letting everyone know we have a facility here and the technicians to do the work – to support the Army with this mission,” Giardina said, “so when the first work request was received, we reacted very quickly.”
“We have this capability here to do something great, and we’re supporting one of our sister battalions within the brigade. To be able to support a unit that belongs to the same organization as us is phenomenal,” added Brown, who also said they’re prepared and ready to expand their support capabilities, as needed.
It’s been a total team effort at LRC Benelux, Brown said. In addition to the team tasked with the painting, LRC Benelux’s supply and services division helped to locate and order the paint, and LRC Benelux’s hazardous material team worked with host nation oversight committee members to ensure they are operating within Belgium hazardous material handling safety standards. And other employees within the maintenance division are assisting the paint team, as well, helping to mask off vehicles and equipment pieces, providing support as needed and jumping in to help when their teammates ask.