***image1***Sgt. Nicole Theis is a nurse, but when she turns in her hospital whites for a Battle Dress Uniform, she becomes a mechanic.
Back in her home state of Louisiana, Sergeant Theis is a nurse for handicapped adults because, she says, helping people fulfills her.
During a recent mission to the KMC area with her National Guard unit, the 3673rd Maintenance Company, 61st Troop Command, her desire to help was still satisfied while she turned wrenches for the 21st Theater Support Command.
She said her duty time at the garages of the Maintenance Activity Kaiserslautern facility made her feel that she is directly contributing to the efforts of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By working on the equipment — brought to Germany from downrange — she said she is helping save soldiers lives.
During her two-week stay, many of the engine blocks she helped repair were more than 30-years old and several were riddled with bullet holes from missions in Iraq, she said.
“As a civilian nurse, my job is to take something that is broken and fix it, make it right again,” she said. “Here, I’m a light wheel mechanic. The 21st TSC needs me to get these engine blocks fixed so that Soldiers downrange can get the job done. With each piece of equipment I fix and send back out, I feel like I’m really helping.”
Tony Smith, the Deputy Director for the MAK, said that without the efforts of Army Reserve components and National Guardsmen like the soldiers of Sergeant Theis’s unit, the MAK would be unable to move out the equipment they receive; equipment essential to support the 21st TSC Soldiers downrange.
“She is always looking out for everybody when we’re on mission. Most people in the unit feel almost like she’s the mom of the group,” said Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence Jeansonne, section chief for the 3673rd. “I think when she saw those bullet holes in the engine blocks an extra desire to help kicked in. She began to work very hard to make sure everyone here was doing the job as quickly and as safely as they can.
“The entire unit is excited to be contributing to those Soldiers downrange,” he said. “They need this equipment and we make sure we do a good job of fixing it up.”