News: Long Island Marine keeps generators running
Story by Sgt. Ned Johnson
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan— A Marine is working inside a combat operations center on a forward operating base when the lights go off and his electronic equipment shuts down.
A simple check tells the Marine the electricity is off, and he knows he can’t continue his mission until it’s working again.
On most bases here, electricity is supplied with military generators and Lance Cpl. Kyle Ford, an electrical engineer technician specialist with Regimental Combat Team 7, helps ensure they are running properly.
Ford’s primary responsibility is to repair and conduct preventive maintenance on generators in the RCT area of operations. He has traveled to several bases across Helmand province to repair generators so other Marines can continue their missions.
“It’s a great feeling to know I have helped Marines that are working on forward operating bases,” said Ford, a 21-year-old native of Wantagh, N.Y.
Generators power everything from lights and air conditioners to computers and printers. Over several years of war, the generators have been run endlessly which often wears them down, Ford said.
Marines in the RCT-7 utilities section stock extra parts they know often wear out or must be replaced as regular maintenance like air and oil filters, Ford said.
Ford is responsible for ordering and tracking these spare parts.
He is also responsible for quality control of the generators.
Before any generator can be sent to a unit, he must test it.
“I get out there and turn it on, and we have a simulated load we place on the generator,” said Ford. “We let it run for several hours before we say that it is good to go.”
Generators are the lifeline of forward operating bases, said Sgt. Carlos Sanchez, the RCT-7 utilities chief.
“Ford’s job is very important,” said the 29-year-old Sanchez. “Without him, there would be no one to do maintenance or order repair parts.”
Most days, Ford is covered in dirt, grease, and sweat from working with his hands.
“He has a tireless work ethic that is demonstrated by his attention to detail and diligence,” Sanchez said.
When he isn’t working, Ford spends his time here at the gym and talking to his family. At Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he is stationed, he spends his spare time surfing with friends. For now, he continues to help keep power running for Marines across Helmand province.
Editor’s note: This article is part of a series wherein every week we recognize an individual Marine or sailor with Regimental Combat Team 7. The Marines and sailors of RCT-7 are dedicated, disciplined and driven to accomplish the mission, and the Marine in this article has earned special recognition for standing out among these professionals. Be sure to check every week to see who will be honored as the latest Marine of the Week.