CAMP LEATHERNECK, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN --
Ensuring all combat gear is in order is essential to mission accomplishment for thousands of Marines and sailors deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As members of 2nd Marine Division (Forward) work to assume control of Task Force Leatherneck from 1st MarDiv (Fwd), both units are focused on ensuring support continues without interruption through the turnover.
Staff Sgt. Martha Avellanet is taking over as the maintenance management chief for 2nd MarDiv (Fwd) and will soon be responsible for millions of dollars of ground combat equipment throughout Helmand and Nimroz provinces - a mission the Wauconda, Ill., native does not take lightly.
“Basically, we make sure all equipment for the units is ‘good to go’ and fixed when it needs to be fixed,” said Avellanet.
Avellanet said she understands the difficult mission ahead as the turnover between the units in Afghanistan is conducted.
“If I don’t ensure the equipment is readily available for [the troops], it could cost lives,” explained Avellanet. “For example, if a vehicle isn’t working properly or broke down, it would not get there in time for resupply of necessary items, like ammunitions, food and water.”
She will support infantry and non-infantry units by monitoring the equipment readiness of their ground assets in Afghanistan, to include tanks, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles and satellite dishes for communication. For instance, if a vehicle requires extensive repairs, the unit would report it to her, and she becomes the liaison between that unit and the motor transportation unit conducting the repair.
“She can expect a full, long year with lots of challenges to be met,” explained Sgt. Gavin Jenkins, the maintenance management chief for 1st MarDiv (Fwd) and an Orange County, Calif., native. “The turnover is going well, and she’s picking it up quickly. I’m sure she will do great during her deployment.”
Avellanet is committed to providing the best service possible, opting for a yearlong deployment in lieu of a six-month option to gain more experience and help maintain continuity between her and the units she supports.
Happily married with two children, Avellanet knew her decision would affect her and her family, but she has prepared herself, both mentally and physically, for the long deployment ahead.
“I love my family and husband very much, who is also a Marine. He supports me in all that I do, but now my mission is here,” Avellanet said with pride. “The lives of the Marines and sailors of 2nd MarDiv (Fwd) and helping the people of Afghanistan are my biggest priority.”