FORWARD OPERATING BASE EDINBURGH, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
FORWARD OPERATING BASE EDINBURGH, Helmand province, Afghanistan - The high-pitched warning beeps of trucks backing up, wrenches turning, and popular American music of all genres echo throughout the mechanic shop. Tan combat vehicles sit on floor jacks while Marines work under the hoods, replacing damaged or dysfunctional parts.
Marine mechanics with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, work day and night to keep hundreds of combat vehicles up and running, ready to roll for their fellow warriors in their area of operations.
Sergeant Jason Littleton of Reidsville, Ga., works as the Maintenance Section chief with the unit and is in charge of 10 other Motor Transport mechanics.
The 26-year-old, who’s on his second deployment, knows the kind of effort it takes to keep all the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles operational and running properly. The battered roads of Afghanistan and roadside bombs take a huge toll on these vehicles, which can cost nearly $750,000 per truck. That makes for a guaranteed day of hard labor cranking wrenches and wiping away sweat for Littleton and his Marines.
“My guys put in a lot of work,” said Littleton. On average, it’s at least a 17-hour day, and that’s constantly working on trucks, getting them ready, and making them safe to ride. The 10 guys I have here are very hard-working Marines.”
That hard work is what the Tattnall County High School 2004 graduate said he is most proud of.
Another Marine in the Maintenance Section, Cpl. Dakota Adkins, also plays a vital role in their mission. The Columbus, Ohio, native is the tool room noncommissioned officer in charge with 3/2 and is responsible for supplying the Marines with all the instruments they need to fix the protective vehicles. That means he must be able to provide and keep track of 2,000 tools and other pieces of equipment the team uses to accomplish its mission.
Adkins, 23, and the rest of the motor transport mechanics count on this gear to help keep the combat vehicles running for the battalion.
“With me, I have to make sure my tool room is unlocked for all the tools to be accessible,” said 2007 Watkins Memorial High School graduate. “We’re just out here to get the job done and keep the ready line always full of running [vehicles] for the troops.”
The ready line is the location where vehicles go when maintenance is complete. To maintain the line at more than 90 percent combat readiness, like Littleton and his Marines do, takes hard work and a little elbow grease. Keeping that high of a percentage of vehicles operational is something Motor Transport mechanic Cpl. Daniel Delapaz of Bensenville, Ill., said he takes pride in.
The floor non commissioned officer in charge with the unit works to make sure the Marines are steadily working and keeps Littleton informed on the progress of work orders. The shop has processed and completed in excess of 860 work orders since arriving to Afghanistan in February.
“[Marines] come in all the time, and we just take care of them as much as we can to push the trucks back out so they can keep supporting us and stay in the fight,” said Delapaz, a 2009 Fenton High School graduate. “As Marines, it’s what we do, you know; we work hard, train hard, and fight for each other. That’s why we love what we do and do it at our best.”
Editor’s note: The battalion is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
||FORWARD OPERATING BASE EDINBURGH, HELMAND PROVINCE, AF
This work, Marine mechanics work hard, train hard, fight for each other, by Sgt Marco Mancha, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.