Lansing, Michigan –
A retired Army transportation specialist has found work in Michigan thanks to DLA Disposition Services in Battle Creek, and people at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The old vet arrived ready to work in 2014, but like some retirees hadn’t quite gotten out of the olive drab camo mode.
That’s to be expected if you are one of the Army’s veteran M-915 line haul tractors built by Freightliner to give the Army a commercial style over the road semi-truck. You’re just naturally green.
The Department of Natural Resources helps firefighters in Michigan get military hardware to support their missions thru a the DLA Disposition Services support to firefighters program. Jack Schultz with the department said the truck had everything they needed for a little rebuilding.
Sure, it would become fire-engine red and get some chrome where OD green paint had covered its steel. That’s demanding detail work but no big deal in a state where “car guys” are around every corner.
Bigger and longer things were to come for the tractor, originally built in 1993 and given a total rehab in 2009 while still in Army service.
What happened in Michigan was more than just another rehab.
Off went the 5th wheel rig. Then it was time to go long. It was time to stretch.
Around six feet of steel was added on to the frame, Schultz said, with a bearing added to support the longer drive shaft. Uncle Sam’s original rear axles and drive system were then mounted under the rear end of the new frame.
A newly built 3,500 gallon water tank was attached, Schultz said, made out of strong poly material. A commercial specialty firm called E. Tankers from Grand Ledge, Michigan did most of the work, Schultz said. He said the project wrapped up in 2015, at a cost of $115,000. He said that was far less than it would have taken to get a new rig built from scratch.
So now the old vet is in better shape than ever, shiny and at work on the “west coast” of Michigan as part of the Montague Fire District, alongside White Lake north of Muskegon.