News: Maintenance: The heartbeat of 2nd LAR
Story by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson
By Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson
Regimental Combat Team 5
CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq – The vehicles that form a light-armored infantry element are in good hands.
Light-armored vehicle mechanics with Maintenance Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 repair and maintain those vehicles to keep the battalion's operations moving.
"Taking care of the vehicles enables the crewmen and scouts to go on missions without any problems," said Cpl. Justin C. Howard, 21, Prince George, Va., a LAV mechanic with Maintenance Platoon. "It's all around vital because it maintains the vehicles and keeps the operation going."
The Maintenance Platoon is comprised of more than 20 Marines trained to operate on damages ranging from broken axles to optical short circuits. Every week, the mechanics perform services on more than 150 vehicles in the battalion. The process includes changing the oil, adding grease and inspecting the engine for wear and tear from miles driven in the desert of western Anbar province.
"We perform [regular maintenance] to ensure the vehicles are up to date and operating efficiently," said Lance Cpl. Kevin D. Jones, 20, a mechanic with Maintenance Platoon. "It keeps us from having to perform hard maintenance on the vehicles. It makes us find potential problems before they become worse."
Regular maintenance and fixing broken vehicles are not the only responsibilities for the mechanics. The Marines also support Motor Transportation Platoon, H&S Company with vehicle-recovery missions and provide mechanics to each company of the battalion. Every time there is a breakdown in a vehicle there is always a specialist there to respond.
"A lot of the time, life here is pretty hectic when it comes to operations tempo," said Jones, from Indianapolis. "We're on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week, but it's really cool to be able to go out and do missions we thought we wouldn't be doing. It's a good experience."
The mechanics will continue their work to maintain the vehicles that make up the operations of 2nd LAR. The hard work and dedication of the Marines will ensure the mission is completed.
"Every single time a vehicle goes down, you guys are there to get it right back up," said Lt. Col. Russell E. Smith, 43, commanding of 2nd LAR from Rochester, N.H., during a visit to the Marines. "You all have worked hard and done an outstanding job this deployment."