Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series about projects initiated by Marines of General Support Combat Logistics Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, while deployed in Afghanistan.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Since arriving in Afghanistan two months ago, Marines with General Support Combat Logistics Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, continue to use their creativity, maintenance expertise, and some spare parts to yield innovations that make their jobs easier and safer while also saving the Corps money.
Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Taylor, and electronic maintenance repair technician with CLR-2, noticed the generators used by the engineer section were not producing enough voltage. Marines in the section were forced to maneuver a forklift around their bay to jumpstart their generators, but Taylor thought of an easier way.
“I used to work as roadside assistance for AAA and I had to carry around a little 12-volt jump pack in my truck for when I jump-started vehicles,” said Taylor, a Cleveland, Ga., native. “So I wondered if I could make one.”
With the help of Sgt. Jacob A. Silver, an electronic maintenance repair technician with CLR-2, Taylor used old parts that were identified for retrograde and reutilization and spare equipment to create a trickle-charged solar jump box.
Using an old mechanic tool box as a container, Taylor built the jump box within half an hour using slave receptacles; a solar panel from an old, diesel generator; and two 12-volt batteries. Taylor purchased a compass at the exchange to complete the box.
Gunnery Sgt. Christopher D. Robbins, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the engineering section, said the entire project cost only $7, which was the price of the compass.
“I thought it was a phenomenal idea,” said Robbins, a Knoxville, Tenn., native. “We didn’t have to order or purchase anything (else). We had all the parts right here.”
The compass and solar panel maximize the effectiveness of the jump box. The compass enables the user to face the solar panel due south for optimum coverage, while a nail angles the panel at the precise degree needed to face the sun. Taylor said during the winter solstice the panel must be at 46 degrees, while in the summer it must me at eight degrees.
Taylor said he is always trying to make new things to help out his unit. The Marines have only used the box for two weeks, but it has served its purpose well so far.
“Now the Marines don’t have to grab another piece of rolling gear, whether it be a vehicle, a motor (transport) asset or a forklift,” said Robbins. “All they have to do is roll out the (jump) box. If you factor in the time it takes to bring in another vehicle, the Marines’ effort and fuel costs, it will save a tremendous amount (of money) over time.”