SILVER LEGACY HOTEL, RENO, N.V. --
Motor Transportation has taken Marines into battle and out of harm’s way, but this is the first time they’ve taken them to, “the biggest little city in the world,” Reno, Nev.
The entire Marine Corps motor transportation community was invited to the annual Motor T Conference held here, Feb. 4 through 7, and included a focus on manpower issues, logistics and a tour of the Nevada Automotive Testing Center.
“This is a lot different from the last conference I went to,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Worthington, the assistant maintenance chief with II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group.
“It’s the best conference so far.”
“It used to be a feeling conference,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Pamela J. Smith, the II MEF motor transportation chief.
“Everybody complained and this wasn’t what II MEF wanted so we brought it to Reno so we could see the military vehicles at NATC.”
The first two days of the conference allowed senior staff to discuss ways the Marine Corps can improve motor transport. Because of the military occupation specialty size, this task wasn’t easily accomplished.
“Master Gunnery Sgt. (Pamela J.) Smith and Chief Warrant Officer 5 (William M.) McCarthy did a great job putting the information out there beforehand,” Worthington said.
Smith sent e-mails to the senior staff asking to address any questions that could be answered before the event, making it more organized than previous conferences.
“We’re the second largest MOS in the Marine Corps,” Smith said. “It was good to plan ahead.”
Marines were able to address staffing problems, see new additions for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, the humvee and the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement.
“We have a vehicle (MRAP) with a large pulling capability and it will enhance our capability to load more with a bigger trailer,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Abney, the motor transportation tactical operations chief with Headquarters Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps will be adding a new diagnostics system replacing the Versatile Automotive Diagnostics System with an Embedded Platform Logistics System, giving real-time diagnostics information to maintenance technicians.
“A motor pool has only one VAD,” said Master Sgt. W. Ferguson, a platoon commander with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “EPLS can be installed in every vehicle so that diagnostics can be done by the time you get back for repair.”
Marines were shuttled to the NATC on the third day to view new vehicles and prototypes companies are designing with the Marine Corps’ input. One particular vehicle, the Combat Tactical Vehicle (Technology Demonstrator), was designed jointly with the NATC and separate contractors, solely for experimentation and military input.
“We were the lead integrator. Because we’re small, we invoked the help of other companies to build a vehicle with new concepts,” said Doug Broughton, an NATC test engineer for the CTV (Technology Demonstrator).
Today, the CTV (Technology Demonstrator) is the only combat designed vehicle with a Hydro-Pneumatic Suspension System, allowing it to have a 9-foot overhaul clearance for ship-to-shore movement and then raising it 24 inches off the ground for improvised explosive devices and explosively formed penetrator strikes.
“The higher you can be, the better off you are,” said Broughton.
The Marines of the Motor transport community, along with the organization of McCarthy and Smith, have raised the bar for Marine Corps conferences. Motor T Marines are now rejuvenated and informed on the Corps’ need for their logistic capabilities.