DVIDS – News – Braking Boundaries: Female Mechanic Navigates to Success

NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria – Amid the increasingly loud buzz of the car park filled mostly with men, U.S. Army Spc. Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic Brandy Benites, assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, confidently approaches the relatively large M984a4 Extended Mobility Tactical Truck Wrecker, a vehicle she is responsible for operating and maintaining.

Benites, a first-generation American citizen and soldier, knows very well how to take care of recovery vehicles such as the tow truck from her H8 Wheeled Vehicle Recovery Course certification, in which everyone in her profession (and her crew) is not not certified.

“If a vehicle is down or if they need me to retrieve a Stryker or a humvee from the field, I can go out and retrieve that vehicle,” she said.

Originally born in Manassas, Virginia, Benites was about to graduate from high school when she learned of the various opportunities the military offered, one of them being aid tuition fees for any future university projects. In the end, after fully seeing what the army had to offer, she joined.

Although not the first female mechanic in the military, Benites did not serve without challenges. She has proven herself to be just as, and sometimes more, knowledgeable than her counterparts.

“While I was on a recovery mission in Hungary, I noticed that some men weren’t listening to me when I was explaining to them how to do a certain task that would have made it easier for them,” the certified mechanic said. “But once another man listened and tried to do what I told them, and it worked… he thanked me.”

On what is commonly known as “Fleet Monday”, his duties include walking the line to help other soldiers who are servicing their vehicles, performing quality assurance and quality control checks, and ordering spare parts.

By performing such daily tasks, Benites learned to value a good work ethic to earn the respect of his peers.

“Once you build that relationship and they see how you work, they start to trust you a lot more,” she said.

An important leader who helped her in her career was Sgt. Bailey Taylor, the first female sergeant she met at her base in Vilseck, Germany. Observing how Taylor worked and behaved among her male colleagues, Benites witnessed how the soldiers respected her and how much that respect was earned.

“She inspired me a lot and taught me how to use my voice,” Benites said.

With three years of service so far, she enjoys the ability to teach and help other soldiers, especially those without H8 certification. She, in turn, enjoys learning from them.

“It’s a team-building experience,” she says. “They are so eager to learn and are always willing to help and lend me a hand.”

To be in such a hands-on profession as a mechanic – which Data USA reports is 97.7% male-dominated nationwide – Benites breaks stereotypes of what women are capable of and is an example of what any future female soldier can do.

“Don’t be intimidated; you can accomplish a lot more than you think,” she said as a piece of advice to other female members of the service. “At the end of the day, when you look back and see all the things you’ve accomplished and the obstacles you’ve overcome, you’re going to be really proud of yourself.”

Date taken: 19.04.2022
Date posted: 19.04.2022 07:47
Story ID: 418732
Location: MOKREN, BG

Web views: 37
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