News: Maintenance for Marines not machines
Story by Sgt. Deanne Hurla
CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan – The “Ugly Angels” of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), spent a portion of their maintenance day competing in some healthy competition at the squadron on the flightline here.
Deemed the Ugly Games, the Marines participated in several events, which incorporated fun and physical fitness.
The Marines were divided into five teams. The teams completed 10 events that pitted section against section for the honor of being crowned the winner of the Ugly Games.
Events included a high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle tow, weapons disassembly and reassembly, tire flip, one-mile and three-mile relays, causality evacuation course, kettle bell throw, fireman’s carry relay, grenade toss and a tug-of-war.
The break was well-deserved and appreciated by the Marines because they have worked every day since their arrival in September.
“It’s been 65 days straight of flyin’ and fixin’,” said Sgt. Maj. Timothy Tackett, the squadron sergeant major. “They needed a break. [The Ugly Games] mixes the spirit of competition and physical fitness as a great way to give them a time out from doing what they’re here to do. Albeit just a couple hours, they’ll be refreshed and ready to get back in the fight.”
Ugly Angel Marines work an average of 13 to 14 hours each day. Aircraft crews fly several types of missions to support Afghan National Security and International Security Assistance Forces on the ground. These missions range from delivering supplies to transporting troops throughout Helmand and Nimroz provinces.
Maintenance Marines perform routine preventative maintenance and any urgent maintenance that arises.
“This was a day to give back to the Marines,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Pecina, the Ugly Angels’ commanding officer. “It was a maintenance day, but the maintenance was on the Marines rather than the machines.”
The Marines who participated in the day’s events had more fun than they expected.
“Today was very fun, and I had a great time,” said Lance Cpl. Erik Pierce, a tool room Marine. “We work a lot so it doesn’t hurt to take a break every once in a while.”
After the events ended and the winning team received their Ugly Games trophy, day crew Marines went to their tents for some needed sleep, and the night crew Marines started their night’s work requirements.
The squadron plans to hold another Ugly Games event before the holidays in an effort to once again lift the Marines’ spirits and take a break from their day-to-day work.