CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines with Maintenance Company, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Support Battalion11.2, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) are wrapping up their last few days of deployment in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Since their arrival in September, the group has fixed millions of dollars worth of gear.
“We have repaired 24,000 pieces of equipment that have been pushed back into the battle space,” said Maj. Brian Spooner, commanding officer, Maintenance Co., MSB 11.2, 1st MLG (Fwd).
From communications gear to disabled trucks to pieces of ordnance, the Marines have worked diligently to repair broken items and return properly working gear to their respective units.
“We provide general support to [Regional Command Southwest],” said Spooner.
Though most gear is brought to the lot at Camp Leatherneck, the unit has Marines scattered across the province to save on travel time, working to repair equipment at Camp Dwyer and Forward Operating Bases Payne, Edinburgh and Nolay.
“We have conducted numerous maintenance support teams, where the Marines go out to the unit requesting maintenance equipment versus the equipment being brought to us here at the lot,” said Staff Sgt. Abigail Lentz, company gunnery sergeant, Maintenance Co., MSB 11.2, 1st MLG (Fwd).
At the maintenance lot at Camp Leatherneck, multiple repair shops are set up to organize the incoming gear.
“I’ve never seen a more proficient, productive and motivating group of Marines in my career,” said Spooner.
At the ordnance shop, Marines work to repair weapons and optics. An electronics shop is set up to fix communications gear. In another area, tactical vehicles are lined up for their turn in the auto shop.
“Our Marines, they can see the equipment come in for repairs and go back out,” said Spooner. “They can see the fruit of their labor.”
To speed up the process of returning usable gear, maintenance has a Repairable Issue Point. When a piece of equipment with a broken part is brought to the lot, the RIP serves as a back stock area. Often, the broken part can be traded in for a working one immediately, so a unit does not have to wait for the repair to be finished. The broken piece is then fixed and placed on the shelves to await another unit in need.
During their tour, the maintenance team has returned more than $1 million worth of fixed equipment to units in surrounding areas. Additionally, the Marines have sent back extra gear that is not being used to the U.S.
“We always have the ability to provide unique solutions to unpredictable problems,” said Spooner.
Maintenance Co. is made up of more than 300 Marines. While more than half come from Camp Lejeune, approximately 100 repairers are reservists from all around America. Regardless of where they come from, the Marines have formed a strong bond during this deployment.
“The camaraderie that the Marines have built, there is no separation,” said 1st Sgt. Marcelino Del Valle, company first sergeant, Maintenance Co., MSB 11.2, 1st MLG (Fwd). “It’s a band of brothers here.”
As their time in Afghanistan comes to an end, the Marines continue their hard work, fixing all equipment that comes in to their lot.
“How we maintain the equipment affects the battle space,” said Spooner. “The work we do here will maintain this gear for the next five, 10, 15 years. When a threat appears, the Marine Corps will be ready to deliver.”