U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Chris Gandee hasn’t been on a military base in three months. Instead, he’s taken a sabbatical with a major U.S. corporation to get up-to-speed on a new generation of technology the army will need to help advance its operation around the world. A welder throughout most of his 20 years in the army, Gandee has been stationed at the headquarters of The Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland, where he is learning directly from industry leaders about new welding technologies.
“I went straight from boot camp to the army’s weld school,” Gandee said.” Recently, Gandee became a welding instructor with the U.S. Army’s Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md. The program graduates 450 students per year, including U.S. army soldiers as well as marines. Military students spend 12 weeks learning oxyfuel, stick, MIG and TIG welding. But, to keep up with the latest technology, the army allows military instructors, such as Gandee, to train with civilian industry experts.
In the past, the army trained its welders at the American Welding Society and recently turned to Lincoln Electric. Lincoln offered courses to the army’s instructors for years, giving the military exposure to the company’s technological advancements. Because an established mutually beneficial relationship and the opportunity for Lincoln to work directly with the military, an important customer to the company, both organizations decided to partner once again for the army’s training program in 2008.
“The army chose Lincoln because of its reputation and the military’s positive experiences participating in courses for many years,” Gandee said. “No other manufacturer can offer the level of knowledge in the classroom.”
During his time at Lincoln, Gandee recieved an in-depth look at the latest technological advancements in welding, including the engineering of consumables as well as the newest machines. Working directly with the technical training department, Gandee participated in Lincoln’s various welding courses, gaining knowledge of new teaching methods to implement in the army’s classroom. To keep the army up-to-speed with new knowledge, Gandee provides a monthly report detailing his specific experiences.
Another highlight of Gandee’s experience is working directly with Lincoln Electric’s staff of welding experts who have written materials he and his fellow instructors at Aberdeen teach. Lincoln has even given him the opportunity to develop his teaching skills and help write curriculum for other organizations such as the 4-H club and welding education programs.
Given the opportunity to travel with Lincoln Electric staff, Gandee was able to observe seismic welding to get a more thorough look at applications not typically used in the army while at the Iron Workers Convention in San Diego, Calif.
Gandee said the additional skills and techniques he learned will prove valuable to his students, further enhancing the army’s overall capabilities as well as keeping them informed of new developments.
“The hands-on experience at Lincoln Electric has already proven to be a great value,” he said. “Plus, I‘ve learned about some of the newest developments and how they can be used in the field,” said Gandee.
Upon returning to his own weld school in Aberdeen, Gandee looks forward to implementing the advanced features offered by Lincoln Electric, such as the company’s Pulsed MIG, Pulse-On-Pulse® processes and Chopper Technology®.
The Lincoln Electric Welding School offers courses throughout the year on various types of arc welding methods to educate and train students in arc welding safety, processes, techniques and Lincoln products, as well as qualification and certification programs. For more information visit www.lincolnelectric.com/knowledge/training/weldschool.
The Lincoln Electric Company, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, fume extraction equipment and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. The company holds a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market.