News: A great day for a soldier at QLLEX 2014
Story by Spc. MONICA WARREN
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. - Imagine moving your family hundreds of miles from home in anticipation of doing the job you love, then getting there and having to do something you never envisioned.
Spc. Marcus A. Camp faced that challenge. He was an Army Reservist in Atlanta and had been a truck driver and mechanic for most of his career. Two years ago, Camp received a call asking if he wanted an Active Guard Reserve job as an engineer. Assuming that he would be working on trucks fulltime, he enthusiastically accepted the position and relocated from his home in Atlanta to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He now serves as an AGR Soldier with the 464th Transportation Company at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
“I love to work on trucks,” said Camp. “I never imagined doing
However, on his first day of training for his new job, he was in for a surprise. The job had nothing to do with trucks. Camp raised his hand to alert the instructor that he was in the wrong class but was abruptly corrected. He took the class, passed, and is now a watercraft engineer with his unit.
Camp said his first impression of his AGR job was not a good one. He was not looking forward to his new job.
“The only water I like is from a shower,” said Camp.
According to his platoon sergeant, Sgt. Christopher L. Mortorff, with the 464th Transportation Company, Camp cares most about a few things: his wife, his Ford Bronco truck, his dogs and working on engines.
In his new job Camp spends most of his days sitting behind a desk doing paperwork, and his main focus is getting that paperwork in on time. Quartermaster Liquid Logistic Exercise 2014 (QLLEX) is Camp’s opportunity to spend two weeks working on engines fulltime.
“My main job during QLLEX is to keep this engine running,” said Camp.
He focuses on engine maintenance, but also participates in boat drills and other necessary tasks scheduled for the crew while the Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) vessel is underway.
Camp, who stands at 5 feet 5 inches, is a picture of strength with his muscular arms and solid frame. He has no problem navigating up and down the stairs, pulling ropes and chains or tackling any task assigned to him.
Camp is all smiles as he eagerly moves from one task to another during the watercraft exercise. Mortorff briefed all the Soldiers on board the LCM 8 of the plans for the day. At the end of the brief, Mortorff asks Camp if he is ready. “I am waiting on you,” Camp jumps to his feet and replies.
Camp leaps into action along with his crewmates, untying the boat from its docked position. Soon after, Camp discusses plans of action for duties in the engine room, he also keeps a close eye on the condition of the engine while he makes sure that he follows protocol for safety.
Even though Camp prefers to work on trucks, being on the water and working on watercraft engines has grown on him.
“I am happy as long as I am working on an engine,” he said.
Camp passionately notes some differences in the LCM 8 motor and the motor of a truck. One being that water-cools the coolant on a boat and the way coolant cools the engine in a truck. He also said the propeller shaft acts as the wheel of a boat, which is a major difference between the boat and a truck. Camp barely takes a breath as he discusses a truck’s engine verses boat’s engine; his love of engines is evident in his big smile and wide-eyed excitement as he points out these differences in detail.
Mortorff said that a watercraft mission cannot go forward without key personnel on board, and the engineer is no exception. He seems very confident in the young, energetic Camp, and converses with him several times throughout the mission about the condition of the engine.
He said that he is naturally a happy person, but he is especially happy to be able to do this mission with the Soldiers because it is a rare treat for him.
“Being out of the office and on the water working with the Soldiers is great,” said Camp. “I would rather be out here turning wrenches any day of the week.”