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August 6, 2013 at 11:36am

“Starting Strong”: Episode 10 - Vehicle Mechanic

"Starting Strong" Episode 10 host Staff Sgt. Kristen King. Photo courtesy of


Episode 10 concludes the 10 part Army reality show "Starting Strong" - which allows civilians to have a one-week tryout in a specific Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) before deciding whether or not to enlist. Joshua Johnson has a strong passion for becoming a mechanic but will a try out week in the U.S. Army on Fort Carson be enough for Joshua to overcome the distance away from home and join the U.S. Army?

This week, Starting Strong takes a look at U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanics. Joshua, a potential recruit from Campbell, MN was sent to Fort Carson, CO to see if he has what it takes to be an U.S. Army Vehicle Mechanic or "Light Wheel Mechanic". After one week of training will he become U.S. Army Strong?

"It only requires that you're mechanically curious and not afraid to get your hands a little dirty," show's host SSG Kristen King introduces the audience to this week's episode. "An army may move on its stomach, but its mission success depends on its equipment, and we've got the coolest toys in the world."

Joshua, an 18-year-old high school student from Campbell, Minnesota, had to grow up fast.

That's because he has seven brothers and sisters that were all raised by his grandmother due to his mother's alcoholism.

Joshua has always had an affinity for the mechanic profession but fears the Army because he doesn't want to move away from his family.

"I got into cars at a really young age helping my uncle with his race car, "Joshua tells the camera.  "I started working on my first car when I was 13."

Joshua's Army training experience takes place under the mentorship of Sergeant First Class Andrew Puls. Sergeant First Class Puls has 19 years of service.

His first challenge starts with a physical and mental test; climbing a massive training rock wall.

He very easily conquers his first test.

Next up, Joshua visits Fort Carson's Closed Combat Tactical Training Facility, which looks like a virtual reality playground.

"This is the world's greatest arcade with the biggest and baddest video games you'll ever see," says show's host SSG King.

Joshua trains atop a simulated tank as the gunner with literally video screens surrounding him on all sides.

"This is the best video game I've ever played," Joshua says. "Nothing compares to that."

After his virtual reality simulation, Joshua heads to the motor pool where military vehicle repairs take place.

Army Vehicle Mechanics can rebuild a geared hub and replace a half shaft in just 30 minutes.

Joshua quickly catches on and appears to seamlessly blend in with the rest of his battle buddies.

The next mission for Joshua is attempting to retrieve a damaged vehicle from a possible hot zone in a simulated Afghan village.

His mentor, SFC Puls stresses the importance of there being nothing in a vehicle worth a loss of life.

His last stop takes him to the NHRA Top Fuel Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to meet a former National Guardsmen and Army 63B, Shane Boyington.

Shane works for the FRAM Air Filter Top Fuel Dragster team.

"It has been my childhood dreams to work on this stuff and I wouldn't be doing it today if it wasn't for the army.

Joshua gets hands on experience taking apart and putting together the engine block of an 8,000 horsepower dragster that actually reaches 306 mph in just 3.98 seconds.

After his full hands on experience and a brief message of support from his grandma, who raised him, it becomes the time for the decision of Starting Strong's last military-reality show participant.

Joshua does decide to join the U.S. Army and is even sworn in to service in front of thousands of fans at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

What a memorable way to end one show's tenure and to start the tenure of Joshua's military career.

FOLLOW UP: Spc Joshua Johnson is currently a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic currently serving with the 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, GA.

BONUS: Warrior Forge ROTC 2013 at JBLM coverage

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 1

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 2

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 3

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 4

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 5

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 6

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 7

LINK: Review of Starting Strong, Episode 8

Filed under: Army News, Training, Video,

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