View Full Version : A Monster Mash

10-11-03, 04:29 PM
A Monster Mash
Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification Number: 2003101020125
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(September 30, 2003) -- Even Jesse James of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" needs a little help when it comes to bending steel. That's why he called on Marines Sept. 30 at Camp Pendleton's White Beach.

Now, James knows a thing or two about twisting iron. He's turned raw metal into $150,000 motorcycles from his West Coast Choppers shop in Long Beach. James has shown a talent for distorting cars into drag-racing hot dog carts and even a school bus on pontoons into a smashing success on "Monster Garage."

But there's one thing James couldn't wrap his beefy, tattooed forearms around - failure. James' latest experiment was turning a DeLorean into a hovercraft.

"It was kind of lame from the start because it's a DeLorean and I wasn't into it," James explained.

But after James kicked one team member off the project, he jolted efforts into overdrive. He and the remaining crew burned the midnight oil to get the hovercraft floating. Five days and 80 hours later, James' hybrid car-hovercraft fired to life, lifted briefly and dropped to the floor.

"It was like getting sucker punched," James explained. "You should learn from it and move on, but still make an example out if it. ... just to let people know failure isn't acceptable."

So he turned to Camp Pendleton's Assault Amphibian School Battalion for a little help in destroying the defeat that crushed him.

Marines answered with typically overwhelming force - an amphibious assault vehicle.

"I couldn't think of a better way to show what real power and real success is like than to be able to run over a DeLorean," James said.

James climbed into the turret of the bulky 46,000-pound tracked behemoth spewing black diesel smoke and let the Marines do what they do best - destroy stuff.

"I think it's fitting," James said. "If you're a failure, they're not going to let you stay in the Marines, right?"

The vehicle roared to life and slammed up over the car's stainless steel body. Tracks bit into the failed experiment, tearing and gnashing metal and plastic into useless bits of junk. Just to make sure it was done right, James asked to make a few more dozen passes to obliterate his project.

"It felt like we ran over a sunflower seed," James said. "It didn't even move or jerk at all."

The pleasure of putting the failure to rest wasn't James' alone. Sgt. Manuel D. Rodriguez, an instructor at AAS Bn., had the honors of driving for the famed chopper builder.

Rodriguez seemed to have a destructive streak of his own, making pass after pass over the crushed heap of debris.

"I was pivoting on it," he said. "Just smashing it for a little more effect. It's not every day you get to do this."

James added it was good to see the car crushed. It sat in his garage for three weeks, a sore reminder of his failure every time he walked by.

"Everybody likes to come out and see a little destruction," James said. "Come on ... a DeLorean has got to be the lamest car ever made. It's kind of cool to see one smashed."

The DeLorean episode is scheduled to air Monday on Discovery Channel.

E-mail Gunnery Sgt. Oliva at: OlivaMD@pendleton.usmc.mil


Jesse James of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" straps on a crewman's helmet as he settles into the commander's seat on an amphibious assault vehicle at Camp Pendleton's White Beach Sept. 30. James tried to turn a DeLorean into a hovercraft for an upcoming "Monster Garage" episode, but the experiment failed. He turned to Pendleton's Assault Amphibian School Battalion for a little help turning the project back into scrap metal.
Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva