News: Today's Teufelhunden train on transmissions
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Reina Barnett
BARSTOW, Calif. - Seven Marines with 1st Maintenance Battalion, Reparable Management Company, or RMC, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., recently spent two weeks at Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command.
Back at their home base, the Marines perform intermediate-level maintenance support, to include wheeled and tracked vehicle recovery. For these mechanics, they specialize in light armored vehicles, the LAV-25, to be specific.
The Marines spent some of their time learning how to operate a dynamometer, a device used for measuring the torque or power produced by an engine, motor or transmission.
Sgt. Paul J. Weeks, an Ellensburg, Wash., native who’s been an LAV mechanic for seven years, said the training he and his Marines received was invaluable.
Working on the dynamometer helps the Marines calibrate the transmission and ensures it works before being placed back in the vehicle, said Weeks.
Chris Denmark, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic in the transmissions shop said it’s always a pleasure having Marines come up and train with them. Denmark, no stranger to mentoring and sharing his wealth of knowledge, said he trained a handful of Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., a few years back.
“They’re always professional and so eager to learn,” Denmark added.
Cpl. Michael Valdes, a Miami, Fla., native, and Cpl. James M. Hurst, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, both light armored vehicle mechanics, also trained with Denmark and other mechanics in the transmissions shop.
The training here afforded the Marines a lot of hands-on opportunities not available to them before.
“At the schoolhouse, the ratio is one instructor to 26 students, but here, we’ve had two guys instructing seven Marines,” said Weeks. “We were never trained on how to tear down transmissions … until now. This has been an awesome opportunity to verify our procedures and if we’re not doing it correctly, learn how to correct our deficiencies,” added Weeks.
Sgt. Joseph O. Sanchez, from Hollister, Calif., said not only did he learn hands-on, but he received additional, very practical information he didn’t previously have.
“We didn’t have the specialized tools they had; but now we have the NSNs, so we can be more effective when we put our gear together,” said Sanchez, referring to a manual of specific parts.
The Marines said the two week training opportunity cemented their confidence in their abilities to execute fourth echelon maintenance back at their own shop.
“I was most impressed with their proficiency and professionalism,” said Sanchez, of the men in the transmission shop. “They were outstanding and were so willing to help us in learning.”
Similar to his co-workers, Hurst spoke of learning the basics at school, but here, he learned how to actually tear down and build back up, a transmission. Something he hadn’t done before, and said was the hardest part. Of the two weeks spent in the High Desert, Hurst said, “We’ve rebuilt two [transmissions].” Not a bad feat!
Hurst said he really likes the intricacy of his job.
“I like learning about the components, and what they do and where they go,” he said.
In the end, the Marines with RMC left with a much broader understanding of the parts they work on every day, and can now use that knowledge to perform maintenance on their own --- possibly avoiding sending the part away, not only saving time, but money.
“What is most impressive is the pride these men take in their jobs. Every day, they are making quality gear, they don’t cut corners, their standards are high and they’re more than willing to help,” echoed Weeks.