BARSTOW, Calif. - Marines train in every clime and place and despite its remote location in California’s High Desert, the Marine Corps’ largest single-story building is a prime candidate for a training site.
Marines with Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., took advantage of this opportunity and will spend nearly a month at the Mojave base learning how to disassemble and rebuild tactical vehicles.
The Marines taking this opportunity work mostly with basic vehicle repairs on a normal basis. Working with the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and MATV, an all-terrain version of the MRAP, the MLG Marines will be able to get more in-depth training on repairing these vehicles and see how they operate from the inside.
“Our Marines don’t usually get this detailed when it comes to repairing these vehicles,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Thompson, maintenance chief and staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Marines sent to MCLB Barstow from 1st MLG.
“While we’re here, I want my Marines to get a better understanding of how these vehicles work. I think it’ll benefit them greatly in their work if they know more about the vehicles they work on,” he added.
Thompson explained that the Marines he brought to the installation will be able to see the inner workings of these tactical vehicles and to gain a more insight as to the reasons for the vehicle repairs.
“If they understand why their doing what they’re doing, their work will go a lot further than if they were just doing what they learned without reason,” Thompson said.
A majority of the Marines on this trip haven’t spent much time in the fleet. Most have been in the Marine Corps less than two years. Thompson hoped getting this training for the Marines would help them get the most out of their career in the Marine Corps.
“It’s a really good experience for us. I’m glad we got to come up here to do this,” explained Lance Cpl. Jose Flores, a motor transportation mechanic with 1st MLG. A lot of the work the maintenance Marines did in Barstow were tasks they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do on a regular basis back at their duty station, Flores added.
The training for the Marines began as an idea from MDMC employees looking to utilize the plant in more innovative ways.
“Several officers thought our plant had a lot of potential,” explained Betty Jackson, a program analyst with MDMC. “Some of us at MDMC thought it’d be a good idea to bring in units from different bases in the Marine Corps to have them train. This way, we can have Marines learn in more detail how the MRAP or MATV work.”
Jackson also stressed the importance of allowing the Marines to see the battle damage done to the vehicles returning from combat.
This way, they could have a better understanding of how important their job is, she said.
Both MDMC and its visiting Marines have benefited from the training opportunity.
“The Marines coming up (to MDMC) to work on these vehicles have helped us out more than we could have imagined,” said Jackson.
“Our number one goal is to support the warfighter and helping these Marines out is doing exactly that. Having them here also helps get the word out about our invite to other units,” she added.
The success of the Marines training at MDMC has opened the door for others to come hone their skills at the production plant.
“We already have two more groups scheduled to come up and do the same training,” explained Thompson.
“This trip has been more than helpful to my Marines. We’ve gotten more out of this than we could have hoped for. I look forward to keeping this up,” he concluded.