Posted on Nov 12, 2019
SSgt M1 ABRAMS Tank System Maintainer
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Prior service marine switching to 91a. Looking for any advice or insight into this mos since there isn’t much on here for day to day life, work/home balance, advancement opportunities etc
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SSG Satellite Communication Systems Operator/Maintainer
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Don’t do it
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SGT(P) Cbrn Nco
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SGT,

I reclassed in 2017 from the NG. It was a bit of a culture shock for me, perhaps not for you depending on your previous experience.

We work long hours. IF you do PT, you'll likely work til about 1900-2100 everyday on average. If you're married/have a family, be up front with them about this. Once you're in the field, there were several nights where I went on 3 or less hours of sleep.

I'm at Fort Riley, and when I say we're in the field every other month, I mean it pretty literally. And these aren't 1-2 week exercises, these are 4 week exercises. To say that high command is unrealistic of the maintenance cycle of these vehicles is an understatement, by the time you get them halfway working again, you're back in the field, and your life goes to hell. In my opinion the Abrams Tank is the least reliable vehicle in the Army's inventory, and most of the issues are self-inflicted.

Unless you end up at Fort Irwin, you most likely will be in a rotational unit, so depending on where you go and their cycle you'll be going overseas eventually. For instance my contract was 3 years and I just got back from my 9 month rotation. So in essence I lucked up with two years stateside and 1 year overseas, you could easily be the reverse. You'll know quickly once you report.

As far as advancement, you're probably looking at SSG in 2 years plus, perhaps more. Points are currently maxed out, and ALC slots are hard to come by as our ALC is a hair short of 11 weeks long, with a class size of 15. You REALLY need to know what you're doing before you go, I've already been and failed halfway through. I was one of three reclasses, but the other two had a mechanical background and I did not. The rest of the class had on average about 5.5 years of pure Abrams experience. If I'm allowed to reenlist, I'll most likely be reclassing to another MOS as I felt I'm just too far behind the power curve skill wise. The current RCP for us is 14 years, so keep that in mind based on your own time. I would hate for you to end up in a situation where you force yourself out when I know you most likely left the Marines to continue your career.

I hope that gives you a good start. I apologize if my forecast was a little grim, I haven't had the best go of it with this MOS, but if you're mechanically inclined and you're a natural like some you may be in for the time of your life. Best of luck.
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SSG M1 ABRAMS Tank System Maintainer
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Currently a 91A here at school house.
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