News: Utilities Marines adapt, overcome to bring power to RCT-3
Story by Cpl. Daniel Flynn
CAMP DWYER, HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — When in a deployed environment, such as here in Afghanistan, one of the most important necessities is electricity.
Life here is no exception to the rule.
The responsibility to facilitate these power requirements falls on eight utilities Marines from Okinawa, Japan, who are now deployed with Regimental Combat Team 3 here.
The utilities Marines arrived at Camp Dwyer in mid June, and it took about three weeks to get power up and running for the command operations center, according to Lance Cpl. Anthony R. Hale, an electrician with RCT-3.
While the COC may be their main concern, the utilities Marines also have to provide power for most of the camp to include the sleeping and chow hall tents.
They are responsible for maintaining air conditioning on the camp, as temperatures sometimes reach the 120s during the heat of the day, and they also provide the same level of support for all of the forward operating bases throughout the province.
"I like my job, but it is a lot of work," said Hale. "We don't have many Marines to help out, and we can always use more gear."
Since there are so few of them with the RCT-3, they have been getting a lot of cross training and not just working on their own specialties.
We have a pretty significant workload, said Lance Cpl. Alexander J. Hodges, acting utilities chief with RCT-3. "Sleep is limited, and the work is never ending."
They also have two Marines on watch throughout the night to make sure that everything continues to function properly, according to Hodges.
Even dealing with the seemingly endless amount of work and the long hours, the utilities Marines manage to find time to do Marine Corps Institute tests, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training, physical training and hip-pocket classes.
The Marines show on a daily basis just how much initiative and ingenuity they have by doing the work that would keep 20 Marines busy, according to Hodges. This is part of why two of them have received combat meritorious promotions.
Even in these conditions, and the work that still needs to be done every morning, the Marines are motivated about helping advance the RCT-3 mission.
According to Lance Cpl. Benjamin D. Lawson, air conditioning technician with RCT-3, the job is rewarding for them because they can see the progress they are making here, and they understand that their diligent efforts makes life a little bit easier for the Marines on the front lines.