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Sgt. John T. Flowers, refrigeration maintenance chief, Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), repairs an air-conditioning unit aboard Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, Feb. 17. Marines with CLB-3's Utilities Section have repaired nearly 300 generators and utility equipment for Marine units operating in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Photo by Cpl. Daniel H. Woodall

CLB-3 generator mechanics ensure success on battlefield

22 Feb 2011 | Cpl. Daniel H. Woodall

Whether deployed or in garrison, Marines require electrical power to maximize their operational efficiency. Lightweight, tactical generators provide Marines with a mobile power source that they can rely on.

Like most frequently-used military equipment, lightweight, tactical generators require routine maintenance. Thankfully, generator mechanics with Combat Logistics Battalion 3’s Utilities Section work around the clock to ensure that Marines operating throughout Helmand province have the electric power they need to accomplish their mission.

Fewer than 30 Marines with CLB-3’s Utility Sections are responsible for providing generator maintenance for every camp, forward operating base, combat outpost and patrol base in southern Helmand province, said Staff Sgt. Jason Garcia, utilities maintenance chief, Support Company, CLB-3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). They are also tasked with repairing water pumps, portable showers and air-conditioning/heating units.

“Most Marines out [in Helmand province] don’t have the basic necessities we have here at Camp Dwyer,” said Garcia, a native of Moreno Valley, Calif. “The quicker we can repair a generator and send it back to the Marines in the fight, the sooner they have the ability to continue operating and accomplish their mission. The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing my Marines completely repair a generator from scratch. These Marines are able to troubleshoot this equipment efficiently and with a quick turn-around. They do it on a constant basis – as if it were second nature – and the warfighters use [these generators] to their package.”

Since October, CLB-3’s Utilities Section has repaired nearly 300 generators and other types of utility equipment for several units throughout Helmand province. According to Sgt. Joshua Q. Brown, platoon sergeant, Support Company, CLB-3, 1st MLG (FWD), the mechanics’ efforts provide several advantages for Marines in Afghanistan. From a tactical standpoint, these generators provide Marines with the power to maintain communication and command and control operations. However, these generators also provide certain morale-boosting amenities.

“These generators supply running water, climate control and power for computers, phones and anything that requires electricity,” the 25-year-old Houston native said. “Without these mechanics, any irreparable piece of gear is useless – but we provide a level of repair which salvages that gear. The good work our Marines do here positively affects other Marines’ morale. Operating in this climate, power is necessity.”

More than ever, coalition forces require a reliable source of electrical power to conduct combat operations. Fortunately, the efforts of generator and utility mechanics will continue providing the power necessary to keep Marines operating in any clime and place around the world.


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