Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Nickolas Barker, from Kingsford, Mich., and an automotive maintenance technician with Combat Service Support Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group removes a tire on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle aboard Camp Pendleton, April 3, 2014. The Marines rose the readiness percentage by 20 percent over a month.

Photo by Lance Cpl. William Perkins

I Marine Expeditionary Force increases vehicle readiness

7 Apr 2014 | Lance Cpl. William Perkins

Anyone walking into Combat Service Support Company, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group’s maintenance bay is likely to wrinkle his or her nose at the odor of the oil stained air. To the floor mechanics, it’s the normal everyday atmosphere.

When the first readiness evaluation of the year loomed over the shop in January 2014, a large number of the 120 total vehicles were considered unserviceable. This was something that the Marines found unacceptable.

All vehicles in the shop are inspected to ensure they are mission-capable. If a vehicle is deemed unfit to support a mission, the problem is assessed and a solution is brought forward to ensure the unit’s mission is fulfilled, said Sgt. Fabrizio McMillian, a quality control chief for CSSC.

“Our unit came back from the field and we had the readiness of 75 percent, which is actually pretty low for motor transportation,” said McMillian.

This was not only a concern for McMillan himself but also to his floor mechanics. The mechanics pride themselves on providing the best support to their fellow Marines.

“Seventy-five percent isn’t a good number for any operational status,” said Cpl. Michael McKeon, a floor mechanic for CSSC. “We had to go into a few maintenance stand downs to figure out what was wrong with each and every truck.”

During a stand down, Marines are required to push the length of their hours and focus on fast and effective vehicle repair.

“In matter of a month’s time, my mechanics were able to repair vehicles and have the readiness up to 95 percent,” said McMillian.

The 20 percent increase in readiness came at a cost; hours were extended and the Marines had to work extremely hard, added McMillian. However, the time put in was well worth the sacrifice, said McMillan.

“It’s our job to fix the trucks right [and] effectively get them out on the road keeping our Marines safe,” said McKeon.

The Marines accomplished more than achieving the ideal operational status, it offered the opportunity for the Marines to work better as a unit and help prepare I Marine Expeditionary Force for any crisis around the globe.

“We worked really well as a team,” said McKeon. “[Focusing on] efficiency and effectiveness on getting the trucks back up is what it comes down to.”