An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | June 26, 2020

Camp Zama Soldier Takes pride in Job as Army Mechanic

By Noriko Kudo

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – He may be a bit biased, but Sgt. Kalil Knight says he definitely has the best job in the Army.

Knight, assigned to 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion here, is wheeled vehicle mechanic for the unit. He remembers feeling fortunate to have landed his dream job when he enlisted five years ago.

Knight said he has been a hands-on person from a young age, learning to fix cars and motorcycles, and later watching online tutorials to learn more complex mechanical skills.

A friend of Knight’s owned an auto body shop, where Knight would take his car to get serviced and repaired. Every time Knight visited the shop, his friend would show him the work he was doing and would encourage Knight to learn to do the repairs himself.

“I really liked working with my hands, doing laborer types of jobs,” Knight said. “I knew that would be a job I would really enjoy doing in the Army.”

After joining the Army, Knight went through three months of in-depth and hands-on training, learning things like the intricacies of an engine and the components that make it work, how to troubleshoot mechanical problems, and how to perform diagnostic checks on a vehicle.

The training covered many principles Knight already knew about mechanical work, but at the same time he said there were new skills and experience he gained that better equipped him for his job.

“I am really grateful for the things I have learned being a mechanic in the Army,” Knight said.

The “shop” where Knight works currently has five mechanics, including three wheeled vehicle mechanics who work on Humvees and other tactical vehicles, and two generator mechanics.

Knight’s day-to-day tasks include inspecting, servicing, maintaining and repairing vehicles to “make sure they are in tip-top shape at all times,” he said.

Knight said one of the most rewarding aspects of his job is being able to take pride in the vehicles he works on, secure in the knowledge that his fellow Soldiers can count on those vehicles to be in optimal working condition whenever they need them.

In addition to becoming a mechanic, Knight said another goal of his was to serve in the Army at the same time as his mother. Knight’s mother served on active duty for 24 years until she retired recently as a master sergeant. Before she hung up her uniform, however, she was able to see her son put his on.

“[My mom] was a big inspiration for me to join the Army,” Knight said, “so it was an honor to be in the Army at the same time as her.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, some segments of the Soldier and civilian workforce transitioned to full or partial telework schedules. Knight’s job, however, was designated as “essential,” meaning he and the other mechanics continued their usual schedules in the motor pool every day.

Months into the “new normal” of living and working in a post-COVID environment, Knight says he sometimes worries. At the same time, however, he feels it is worth risk because of how much he loves his job, and how important he knows his work is to his unit’s mission.

“It feels good to feel to be needed,” Knight said.

Social distancing, one of the routines that has become commonplace in recent months, has actually given Knight and his team the ability focus on getting ahead in their services and repairs, and to be ready for upcoming inspections, he said.

Knight said he has managed to stay resilient by focusing on positive things, like the parts of his job he really enjoys, which has made his professional life more fulfilling and worthwhile.

“I love being a mechanic and getting my hands dirty,” Knight said. “That’s where my heart soars.”



USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launch
May 29, 2024 - We are aware of the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with the Republic of Korea and Japan, as well as other regional allies and partners. The United States condemns these actions and calls on the...

NAVFAC Pacific Awards $74 Million Contract for Child Development Center on Guam
May 28, 2024 - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Pacific awarded a $74,409,403 firm-fixed price task order on May 21 to Black Construction – Tutor Perini JV of Harmon, Guam for the construction of a child development...

ACDC | 3rd MLR Conducts Bilateral LZR Cobra Exercise with PMC
U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, conduct pre-flight checks on the Stalker VXE30 unmanned aerial system during the Littoral Zone Reconnaissance Cobra exercise for Archipelagic Coastal Defense Continuum at Camp Cape Bojeador, Philippines, May 20, 2024. LZR Cobra is a bilateral command post exercise between U.S. Marines with 3rd MLR and Philippine Marines with the Coastal Defense Regiment and 4th Marine Brigade aimed at enhancing interoperability, refining tactics, techniques, and procedures, and supporting combined and joint force maritime domain awareness. ACDC is a series of bilateral exchanges and training opportunities between U.S. Marines and Philippine Marines aimed at bolstering the Philippine Marine Corps’ Coastal Defense strategy while supporting the modernization efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Eric Huynh)
May 28, 2024 - U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, alongside Philippine Marines with 4th Marine Brigade and the Coastal Defense Regiment concluded Littoral Zone Reconnaissance Cobra, ending a week-long...

Building Capacity, Relationships in the Luzon Strait
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 523rd Engineer Company and Philippine engineers assigned to the 513th Engineer Construction Battalion pose for a group photo with the 130th Engineer Brigade command team while assigned to the construction of a weatherproof emergency shelter for the local municipality during Salaknib 2024 at Itbayat, Philippines, May 12, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation over decades of shared experiences. (U.S. Army photo by Warrant Officer Elissa Pedelty)
May 28, 2024 - Over three months in the spring of 2024, U.S. Army engineers participating in this year’s iterations of Exercises Balikatan, Salaknib and the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center Exportable (JPMRC-X) exercise have...

U.S.- Australian Interoperability Across the Pacific: RAAF Tanker Refuels USMC F-35B for Transpacific Flight
A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 214, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, receives fuel from a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft with No. 33 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, over the Pacific Ocean, while flying from Camp Blaz, Guam, to RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, May 19, 2024. VMFA-214 deployed more than 200 Marines and eight F-35B Lightning II aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, to RAAF Base Tindal, Australia, to conduct bilateral training with RAAF No. 3 Squadron and No. 75 Squadron. As part of I Marine Expeditionary Force, 3rd MAW persistently trains in the Indo-Pacific, maintaining a forward presence and enduring commitment to our allies and partners in the region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Nicholas Johnson)
May 28, 2024 - As a testament to the ironclad alliance and ever-increasing interoperability between the U.S. and Australia, a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker with RAAF No. 33 Squadron, traveled from RAAF Amberley,...