News: MDMC employee racks up nearly 50 years of federal service
Story by Cpl. Thomas Bricker
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, sees hundreds of employees come and go through the years. It isn’t often they have an employee who sees five decades of work in the Marine Corps’ largest single story structure.
Gilmore ‘Butch’ Grieves, an ordnance mechanic with the plant’s artillery shop, has been working at PPB since 1976, a majority of that time in the same shop.
Although Grieves has spent more than 35 years at the Yermo annex of Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, his service with the government started 10 years prior to his tenure at PPB.
During this decade, Grieves spent much of his time sailing to locations across the world in the Navy, he explained.
Returning to his hometown of Needles, Calif., after leaving the Navy, Grieves didn’t stick around long before relocating again, this time to Barstow.
“My brother-in-law told me about job openings in Barstow, so in 1975, I moved there. I needed a job to help support my family,” he said. “I worked at a gas station for about four months before I got my job here at (Production Plant Barstow).”
Grieves didn’t spend much time outside PPB before moving inside after his entry-level position as a groundskeeper. He applied for a laborer job inside PPB’s main building and began working on repairing amphibious assault vehicles, M107 Howitzers, and even a few Cold War-era M578 Light Recovery Vehicles.
During the next few years, he worked with these vehicles and in 1986, he began working on the vehicle he’d stay with until present day: the Light Armored Vehicle or LAV-25.
It wasn’t long after Grieves began repairing the LAV-25s, his supervisors took notice of his excellent work. He was put into a leadership role where he continued to work hands-on with the light armored vehicles but also supervised others, and mentored when needed.
“I know these vehicles inside and out. I’ve been working on them for over 17 years. I’ve been in a leadership position … but it’s still good to work with them,” he explained.
“I like being the leader who works hand-in-hand with others,” he added.
Grieves has noticed the changes at PPB over the years he’s been there: tactical vehicles from three wars the implementation of project managers, and 16 commanding officers.
In the 37 years Grieves has been here, he’s gotten all the satisfaction he could from his work, he said. Knowing his work is the best he can do and having it recognized was all he wanted, he added.
“I like taking pride in what I do. And being here for this long, nothing’s new to me anymore. No one has to tell me what has to be done anymore,” he said. “Because of this, I can focus on putting out a quality product.”
While looking back on the times he’s had at PPB, Grieves recalled some of his most memorable times he had while working here.
“I think one of the funniest times I’ve had while here was when I first started. I had my hair done like a perm,” Grieves recalled with a laugh. “Man, the guys never let me forget that time,” he added.
After his 37 years with PPB, Grieves said he’ll miss working on the equipment and with his coworkers most. In a few more months, Grieves intends to conclude his multi-decade career and retire to tend to his wife who’s been diagnosed with cancer.
“I plan to retire June third and help my wife. Our ultimate plan is to move to Laughlin, (Nev.,) since it’s close to where I’m from. I’m looking forward to it so I guess we’ll see how things pan out,” he concluded.