News: Maintenance Marines keep vehicles in the fight.
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – When the wear and tear from driving through southwestern Afghanistan or a blast from an improvised explosive device damages a tactical vehicle, it could mean the end of the line. However, the Maintenance Company Marines of Combat Logistics Regiment 15 (Forward), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), are able to restore it to it’s operational capability.
The mission of Maintenance Company is to fix vehicles and return them back to the Marines in the fight as quickly as possible, said Master Sgt. Gilberto J. Rivera, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Motor Transport Maintenance Platoon, Maintenance Company, CLR-15 (FWD), 1st MLG (FWD).
Since the beginning of the war, tactical vehicles have become a shelter for the Marines who use them.
“For the guys outside the wire, these trucks are their homes,” said Rivera, 42, Sahuarita, Ariz. “The trucks are the only safety they have.”
Once a vehicle arrives at the shop, it gets an inspection from a quality control Marine. After the problem is diagnosed, Maintenance Company begins fixing any problems the truck may have. The mechanics do everything from topping off the oil to complete restorations of tactical vehicles destroyed by IEDs.
“When a truck comes in, we give it a complete look over,” said Master Sgt. William A. Green, a maintenance chief with Maintenance Company, CLR-15 (FWD), 1st MLG (FWD).
The maintenance Marines put all their effort into fixing the trucks so the Marines that need them can complete their mission.
“They’ve been working 12-16 hour days,” said Green. “They are extremely dedicated, and they don’t ever complain.”
Although the Marines work hard, few people know how much work is truly put into the trucks.
“I don’t think many people see the big picture of what goes into these trucks,” said Rivera. “We go over them with a fine-toothed comb.”
The Marines never let a vehicle leave their shop with a problem of any kind. They ensure every detail is correct, and they do their best to make the vehicle as reliable as possible.
“When a truck comes in with even a minor problem, we check everything and usually end up fixing something else, too,” said Cpl. David P. Holland, a mechanic with Maintenance Company, CLR-15 (FWD), 1st MLG (FWD).
They go over every inch of the vehicle and fix any problem so it does not become a bigger problem down the road.
“If you catch the small concerns early, you avoid big concerns later,” Said Green, 40, from Goshen, N.Y.
When other Marines see the dedication Maintenance Company Marines put into their work, they are amazed.
“During my last deployment, we fixed over 12 vehicles in a remote COP in a very little amount of time,” said Holland, Lisbon, Ohio. “A couple of grunts came up to us after seeing how hard we were working and thanked us. I appreciated that a lot. It was great to help.”