Logistics assistance representative helps keep equipment running, vehicles
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The transport and delivery of supplies, ammunition, water and food is a critical component of any military operation. And keeping those trucks, tactical vehicles and equipment pieces operational is extremely important.
To assist with doing so, the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command employs Logistics Assistance Representatives who act as liaisons between the item managers and equipment specialists back at TACOM headquarters in Michigan and the Soldiers and leaders in the field.
Russ Kropp is one of those TACOM LARs and is stationed in Germany. As a Combat Support and Combat Service Support LAR assigned to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Germany, he helps multiple Army units across Germany with troubleshooting mechanical problems and resolving issues affecting multiple platforms, equipment types and wheeled vehicles.
Kropp’s specialty lies mainly with the repair and maintenance of tactical vehicles, trailers, line-haul trucks, 5-ton trucks, construction equipment like dozers, graders and backhoes, containerized kitchens and mobile kitchen trailers.
But he also acts as a liaison. He provides commanders with critical information regarding systemic problems and issues. He provides safety of use messages and maintenance advisory updates to the units. He acts as a conduit between the operators on the ground and the item managers at the headquarters. And he teaches, trains and coaches Soldiers.
“I provide the proper manuals and information, and I assist the Soldiers with troubleshooting. If it’s more complicated, I often reach back to the item managers and the equipment specialists, who may have additional information and knowledge not readily available in the field. Mostly, I teach and train,” said Kropp, who has served as a LAR for 16 years.
Kropp, who also spent 16 years in the Army as a Soldier and four more as a contractor, said his primary job as a LAR is to provide training on system operations, troubleshooting and repair.
“In a way, my job is to actually try and work myself out of a job,” said Kropp, who worked as a wheeled vehicle mechanic when he was a Soldier. “The more I can teach these Soldiers – the smarter these Soldiers get – the less demand for contractors, field service representatives and LARs.”
“In a way, my job is to actually try and work myself out of a job,” said Russ Kropp, a Logistics Assistance Representative assigned to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Germany. “The more I can teach these Soldiers – the smarter these Soldiers get – the less demand for contractors, field service representatives and LARs.”
And Kropp said a lot of times contractors, FSRs and LARs aren’t immediately available when a Soldier encounters a critical issue.
“They need to be able to…