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Lance Cpl. Keith J. Medlin, motor transport mechanic with Combat Logistics Regiment 15 (Forward), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), tightens a bolt on an engine of a 7-ton truck at Forward Operating Base Dwyer, Afghanistan, Aug. 13. Medlin, 25, from Lugoff, S.C., is a Marine reservist who worked as a car dealership mechanic before deploying to Afghanistan. While deployed, Medlin used his knowledge to help fellow Marines improve their skills as mechanics, and developed a quicker way to repair the engine of a 7-ton truck.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

From Car Dealership to Afghanistan: Marine Mechanic Innovates Repair of 7-ton Truck

18 Aug 2010 | Lance Cpl. Khoa Pelczar

A Marine reservist who worked as a car dealership mechanic before deploying to Afghanistan has come up with an innovative way to repair the engine of a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement – getting the trucks back on the road in half the time.

Lance Cpl. Keith J. Medlin, a motor transport mechanic with Combat Logistics Regiment 15 (Forward), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), figured out a quicker way to remove the engine and transmission, allowing Marine mechanics to repair the MTVR – more commonly known as a 7-ton truck – in about 15-20 days, versus 35-40 days.

Following the old repair guidelines, Marine mechanics first had to remove the protective armored cab that covers the engine before they could pull out the engine and the transmission of a 7-ton, explained Medlin, 25, from Lugoff, S.C. With his new method, Marine mechanics can leave the armored cab in place and isolate the engine from the transmission to solely work on the engine.

“It cuts down most of the time we spend on one engine,” said Medlin. “And it cuts out most of the headaches because it’s easier for them to do.”

Recognized for his dedication to duty, Medlin was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

“He’s the ideal Marine mechanic,” said Sgt. John B. McGowan, floor chief with CLR-15 (FWD), 1st MLG (FWD). “He’s a really hard worker. He always comes to work ready, always has a great attitude and never complains about anything.”

As a reservist, he worked as a mechanic for a car dealership, so Medlin is very knowledgeable about his work, said McGowan, 25, from Easley, S.C.

“He’s a top-notch mechanic. I don’t even have to watch him,” McGowan said. “I can just give him a task and he goes right to it. He stays on it until it’s done. I wish all my mechanics were like him.”

During his current deployment to Afghanistan, Medlin has completed more repair projects than any of his peers, said McGowan. He always tackles the most difficult projects and always looks to improve. He helps out the other mechanics when he can and teaches them in the skills they lack.

“I love my job, especially in a combat zone,” said Medlin. “You get to see from start to finish and are able to witness the vehicle you fixed get back on the road and continue on serving its missions.”


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