AL ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq --
Whether back at home or in a deployed environment, transportation is key in ensuring Marines have the support they need to accomplish their assigned missions. Often, Marines jump into a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, humvee, or a 7-ton without thinking about the extensive hours that go into preparing these vehicles for a mission.
Marines from Regimental Combat Team 8’s motor transport section are the men who answer this call, putting in the long hours keep RCT-8’s vehicles running properly and ready to roll at a moments notice.
“We put a lot of time in to make sure the vehicles are ready for use,” said Lance Cpl. Ruben Diaz, a maintenance technician with Motor Transportation section, RCT-8. “I enjoy the long hours because we get to learn things about the vehicles that we would not get the chance to learn back in the rear.”
Diaz says he has learned a lot about fixing various parts of vehicles such as axles, rotors, and breaks. He also added that some of the most common problems they deal with are axles and transmissions.
Diaz isn’t the only one who loves working long hours, Master Sgt. Joel Galloway, regimental motor transportation chief, talked about the hard work his Marines display on a daily basis.
“Our Marines work themselves out of work. When they are assigned a task they tackle it as soon as possible.”
Second Lt. James Petronio, regimental motor transportation officer, added to that by saying that the Marines would work night and day if they were allowed to.
Petronio also mentioned the hard work his Marines completed when they arrived to Iraq.
“If it moves, we move it,” said Petronio. “We were asked to accomplish the impossible. Our company does the maintenance work of what a battalion can do. We’ve developed an outstanding reputation for the superb maintenance we conduct throughout our area of operation.”
Since RCT-8’s arrival in Iraq’s Al Anbar province in January, the section has driven more than 36,000 miles and logged 2,085 maintenance hours providing maintenance and logistical support throughout the AO.
Motor transportation Marines do a lot more than just the normal upkeep of tactical vehicles.
“We provide licensing for any Marine in RCT-8,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Roberts, RCT-8’s motor transportation maintenance chief. “We also deal with shipping hazardous materials such as; waste oil, waste fuel and lithium batteries.” Roberts also stated that his Marines have turned in roughly 49 pallets of hazardous materials just this past month alone.
More than just preparing vehicles for day-to-day operations, motor transportation Marines also prepare vehicles and equipment in coordination with the redeployment of multiple units simultaneously from Iraq.
“We have to make sure the vehicles are clean and that all of the issued items are serviceable,” said Sgt. Michael Jackson, RCT-8’s motor transportation shop chief.
“We’ve run convoys to facilitate 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment’s redeployment from Camp Korean Village,” added Roberts.
RCT-8’s Motor Transportation section recently assisted 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in moving equipment in preparation of their return home as well. Roberts also added that next month they will be extremely busy, transporting gear from multiple locations throughout our area of operations.
Outside of their normal workload, the Marines of motor transportation also fulfill other obligations.
“Not only do our Marines do maintenance, they also are tasked out to Mobile Security Detachment, camp guard, as well as our normal duties,” said Petronio. “We also do on-the-spot movements by sending maintenance crews out to combat outposts to recover vehicles needing our support.”
Although it seems as if the Marines have numerous jobs to fill, Galloway knows his Marines are doing a great job. “Our Marines take pride in their work,” he said. “It’s all about quality of work, and we produce the best quality maintenance possible.”
Galloway also added that their work is a bi-product of the outstanding leadership displayed by the noncommissioned officers of the motor transport section.
During a deployment to a combat zone, the last thing Marines need to worry about is whether their vehicles are serviceable or ready for use. Fortunately for RCT-8, the Marines of the motor transportation section work hard and often times stay late at night, to ensure that RCT-8’s vehicles are standing-by, ready when duty calls.
For more information on the ongoing mission in Iraq’s Al Anbar province, visit www.iimefpublic.usmc.mil/iimeffwd.