Photo Information

A motor and transportation Marine with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division loads equipment after an aircraft delivers supplies during training aboard Marine Corps Base 29 Palms, Calif., June 8, 2011. Marines with 1/6 take part in the Enhanced Mojave Viper pre-deployment training evolution in preperation for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. James W. Clark

Motor T: Where the wheels meet the pavement

8 Jun 2011 | Cpl. James W. Clark

A tidal wave of sand and dust rises up over the ridge heralding their arrival. The roar of engines and the idle chatter of oil-stained, soot-covered Marines is their trumpet call. They come bearing gifts: ammunition, water and boxes of meals ready to eat, like some heavy metal Santa Claus.

Once they finish unloading their trucks and resupplying their peers in the field, the Marines with the motor transportation section, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, file back into their trucks and return to the rough dirt roads, headed toward another company in need of supplies, June 8, at Marine Corps Base 29 Palms, Calif.

For Motor T Marines, the day can often start as early as 4:30 a.m., and goes until there are no supplies or personnel left that need to be moved from one location to another, explained Lance Cpl. Garrett Glenn, a gunner with Motor T, H&S Co., 1/6. “You often get to a place, expecting that’s it, only to immediately pack up and move on to a different location.”

“Even though we often don’t get credit, knowing you have done something good for other Marines is gratifying,” continued Glenn.

All Marines are expected to adapt to ever changing scenarios, but this is doubly true in Motor T., where there are only a handful of Marines, and a myriad of roles to fill.

“One mission turns into eight. Our mission is always continuous, always evolving,” said Sgt. Joseph Bednarik, the platoon sergeant for Motor T, H&S Co., 1/6. “There is no set drop dead time for us. We’re where the wheels meet the pavement, but we’re not machines.”

In addition to serving as the primary mode of transportation and resupply within the battalion, the section must provide its own personnel to fulfill vital roles, such as turret gunners for security during long and often dangerous convoys during deployment.

“Getting the Marines in a flexible mindset is hard enough,” said Bednarik, highlighting one of the challenges the Marines deal with on a routine basis, remaining self sustainable, so they can continue to adapt to changing situations on the battlefield. “We want to make sure everyone knows everything. “There are no leadership secrets here.”

Though the days are long and at times challenging, there is solace to be found in their section’s tight-night bond, due to many long hours on the road with only one another as a source of entertainment, explained Bednarik. “We spend so much time together we’re a family.”