CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Corporal John J. Brady grabs his tool kit from a supply room before he heads to the vehicle bay. On his way, he greets other Marines donning the same grease and oiled-stained coveralls and enters the high-ceiling bay. The 7-Ton truck he was working on this week is in the corner; its orange-painted diesel engine is exposed. He sets his toolbox down beside the truck, determined to get the 7-Ton back on the road.
Brady is an automotive organizational mechanic with General Support and Motor Transportation Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group. He is responsible for repairing and maintaining tactical vehicles within his regiment.
“I like being a mechanic because you get to work outside and there is always something different,” said Brady, a 23-year-old native of Ranchester, Wyo. “You might work on some of the same problems, but you go about it differently every day. It’s the variety that I like.”
Brady is replacing this truck’s radiator with a new one because of an unfixable leak. His trained eye selects the tools he needs to complete the task, and he sets them on top of the front bumper.
“Before the Marine Corps, I didn’t know anything about mechanics,” said Brady. “There’s also so much more you learn outside of the [basic automotive] mechanics that I learned in the Marine Corps, including electrical problems, pneumatics and hydraulics. You learn a lot of different trades in just this one job. It’s really informative and useful outside of my [Military Occupational Specialty].”
As Brady unscrews a bolt from the radiator, he describes how being a Marine mechanic is different than being a civilian mechanic.
“In the civilian sector, when someone brings in a truck and they need an oil change, you just change their oil – or their transmission is out, and you just replace their transmission. [As a Marine], someone will bring in a truck, and you will find everything that’s wrong with it and try to fix everything. There’s also definitely a lot of responsibility on your shoulders to do a good job – to do it the right way.”
Brady takes a break after removing the heavy radiator from the truck and wipes the sweat off his brow with his forearm. Music plays on a dusty radio as anti-freeze flows from the radiator onto the floor. He grabs a disposable rag to clean it up.
Apart from his job as a mechanic, Brady is also the hazmat noncommissioned officer for his company. He usually cleans up spills by other Marines.
“As the hazmat NCO, I deal with petroleum based lubricants, solvents and other hazardous or [flammable] substances,” said Brady.
With the Hazmat puddle contained, he fetches a new radiator. He returns to gather a couple of his fellow Marines to help him make room for the new component.
“Corporal Brady is one of my best mechanics,” said Sgt. Carlos A. Barbora, maintenance chief, GS&MT Company. “He has taken extra responsibility with his second billet, hazmat NCO. He has a lot of junior Marines under him, and as an NCO, he looks out for them and they respect him. This, and his performance as a Marine, makes him stand out from other mechanics.”
Brady lifts the radiator in place with the help of another Marine. He begins to connect and fasten it into the truck’s engine bay and works hard to finish the job. Tomorrow, another truck and another problem await him.