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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

Ready - Partnered - Lethal

Okinawa, Japan
Maintenance Marines fix more than tactical equipment

By Cpl. Michael A. Bianco | | March 11, 2010

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            With a wrench, welding gun and well-rounded Marines, a wrecked gate was an easy fix, March 11.

            Seven Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), used skills outside their military occupational specialty (MOS) to repair a military base entrance.

            The Marines were participating in bilateral training in Crow Valley when called upon for the mission.  With a vast array of tools and experience in vehicle maintenance to small-arms repair, coupled with diverse personal experiences and knowledge they worked outside of their comfort zone to complete the mission.

“Sometimes you have to be prepared to take on a duty you’re not used to,” said Lance Cpl. Zachary Norton, a motor-transport mechanic with CLB-31. “We came out here to accomplish something we’re usually not called upon to do and we’re able to get it done.”

Sgt. Scott Terriquez, a light-armored vehicle (LAV) mechanic with CLB-31 added, “A lot of it is stuff I learned growing up, I did welding and carpentry in high school and have a lot of practice with it. The experience I have made it easier to overcome the challenge.”

While the Marines used all their own tools, such as hacksaws, wrenches and welding equipment, necessary for the mission; the Republic of the Philippines Army, donated the majority of the supplies for the project.

“The Philippine Army provided a lot of what we needed including cement,” said the San Diego native. “We are utilizing all the material we have, whether we can get it on base or out in town.”

The project also called for the Marines to become creative with the use of the tools on hand and with a Marine “a can do attitude” anything is possible.

“In our MOS we don’t always have the exact tool we need for the job, so we have to be savvy and come up with an idea of how we can do this without the tool. We’re using our innovation to invent what we need,” said Staff Sgt. Jose Cerca, a Topeka, Kan. Native. 

The gate repair was one of many projects between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S forces in support of Balikatan 2010 (BK ’10) to strengthen the long lasting professional relationship between the two countries. Impromptu joint projects such as these help establish lasting friendships that future missions can be built upon with a shared history and mutual obligations.


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