I've Got Skills: Motor Sergeant vs. NHRA Crew Chief

Watch a profile of different fighting vehicles, such as a Bradley or a dragster, used by the Army and explained by experts.

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Staff Sgt. Alcorn: My name is Staff Sergeant Chris Alcorn. I am a Motor Sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia. I am Army Strong, and I've got skills. One of the vehicles I work on is the Bradley. The Bradley carries the infantry into the battle and then it's able to sustain itself in the fight. You get into a sandy condition like Iraq, it's gonna tear up the vehicles more. So my guys, you know, they have to pay special attention to certain pieces of that vehicle to ensure that it's operating properly.

Mike Green: My name is Mike Green, and I'm the crew chief of Tony Schumacher's NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters. And I've got skills. The Top Fuel Dragster is a rear motor dragster, the motor is behind the driver. It's basically built for one thing, : accelerate as fast as it possibly can. I manage the team, make all the decisions from run to run, what changes we'll make to try to run as quick and fast as we possibly can.

Green: How you doin, Mike Green.

Green: We're gonna take a little time today and give you a little tour of our race shop here.

Alcorn: Sounds good.

Green: This is the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster. Tony Schumacher drives it.

Alcorn: It was impressive to see the inner workings of the car. I've never seen the car with the body off of it.

Green: We're the only team that builds their own Top Fuel Dragsters.

Alcorn: Really.

Green: And there is a lot of technology that the Army uses that we use. We've been developing a driver's capsule to try to build on our car to protect Tony in case of an accident. We went into our race trailer, you know, where we do our racks, where we do our rods and pistons. We went into our clutch area. This is a lounge, where after we make a run, we'll download the data, we'll bring it in here, put it on this computer here.

Alcorn: Really amazing, just the different components and how they can test what the car does while it's running. So how many times a day do you guys rebuild the engines?

Green: It just depends. Like on race day, we'll make four runs. So we'll rebuild it three times.

Alcorn: The way we operate and the way they operate is two totally different ways. Our set up, if a vehicle breaks down we'll replace that engine because it's quicker, it gets that vehicle back out onto the battlefield.

Green: I'll show you our rear tires. They're kind of interesting.

Alcorn: You're looking at tires that are probably ten times the size of tires that's on a regular pick-up truck.

Green: It winds up and gives us that ideal traction for leaving the starting line.

Alcorn: I appreciate you having me out here and I would really appreciate if you guys would come down to Fort Benning and let me show you how we do things down there.

Green: I knew I was gonna go to a maintenance facility, but I didn't realize that I was going to one this nice. This is a brand new facility. It's only been open a couple weeks. And it rivals our race car shop.

Alcorn: Let me show you the inside of the Bradley here.

Green: All right, great. How many people ride in here?

Alcorn: This can hold nine occupants in the back and you've got one driver, a TC and a gunnie.

Green: They pack 'em in there and they go racing across the desert to protect our freedom.

Alcorn: That raises the gun tube up and down.

Green: Sgt. Alcorn explained the controls. When they actually lock onto a target, the Bradley can be going backwards, forwards, sideways, it doesn't really matter. They can fire and still hit that target.

Alcorn: What we've got here is the 903 turbo engine and transmission that goes into the Bradley. This is roughly about 600 horsepower.

Green: The engine systems and transmission systems that make 'em go as fast as they go, it's really impressive.

Alcorn: We can hook it back up to the track itself and run the engine while it's sitting here and be able to diagnose it, see what's wrong with it.

Green: Oh yeah. Right.

Alcorn: Mike, I'd like you to meet Chief Grover. Chief Grover, Mike Green.

Grover: Sir, how are you, Curtis Grover.

Alcorn: Chief Grover is the one who is in charge of this facility here.

Grover: Well Mike, it wouldn't be fair to bring you here and only let you see the Bradley here without showing you the M1s. The differences, this is 70 tons, that's 30 tons.

Green: And what's the top speed of these?

Grover: Sixty-five miles an hour.

Green: That's a lot of weight going that fast.

Grover: This is the engine for the M1. Absolutely one of the most amazing pieces of equipment I've ever seen. And I have 17 of these, so if I have one go down, I can just drop another one in and be right back in the fight in two hours.

Green: That's amazing

Alcorn: It was gratifying to me to be able to show him around and kind of give him an idea just, you know, what it is that we do.

Green: Their jobs are designed to do one thing and do it well. It has to be right. That's how we run a race team. So I think somebody that was trained in this environment would go into the civilian environment and have great success.

Alcorn: The pride they have in the race cars, it's no wonder Tony Schumacher wins so much. These guys are doing stuff that no other team is able to do. And you know, that's basically - the Army is doing the things that no other army is able to do.