View Full Version : MCB Cost Work Center 714 keeps MK48s in the fight

07-20-04, 06:28 AM
MCB Cost Work Center 714 keeps MK48s in the fight
Submitted by: MCLB Barstow
Story Identification #: 200471511268
Story by Cpl. Andy Hurt

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif.(July 15, 2004) -- Somewhere on the far side of Earth, a supply convoy is bringing much-needed ammo and weapons to Marines in fighting holes. Nearby, a tank is being winched out of a canal. Rolling down the Saddam Hussein highway, a vehicle is carrying medical supplies to nomadic tribesmen, who under a former regime, couldn’t even depend on their leader for such reliability.

At the forefront of all these scenarios is the Marine Corps MK48 Logistics Vehicle System. Weighing in at over 50,000 pounds (fitted with an MK15 trailer) and an 8x8 drive system, these bulls of maneuver warfare are proving themselves an irreplaceable asset to the Marine Corps in the Global War on Terrorism.

Certainly these vehicles “pull their own weight” on the front lines, but like all warriors, combat fatigue can take its toll, and from time to time, they find themselves “in the rear” being maintained and repaired.

Maintenance Center Barstow’s Cost Work Center 714 is one of very few locations in the world these vehicles can receive specialized care, according to Don Crownover, heavy mobile equipment mechanic supervisor at CWC 714.

Some might even think of it as the “intensive care unit” for the MK48s.

The vehicles arrive in a variety of conditions, from war-torn to over-trained. No matter what their condition when they arrive, Crownover and the civilian Marines at 714 make sure they leave ready to fight again.

The process starts in a lot on the south end of MCB, where the ‘48s are given a Limited Technical Inspection, condition coded and tested to see what areas are in need of repair, said Crownover.

Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the speed in which the vehicles are, and need to be, repaired has increased dramatically, said Lance Reese, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic at CWC 714. Reese said it is like the vehicles are “On rotation from Kuwait.”

After their LTI, the ‘48s are then stripped down to axles, and the frame is sent off to the steamblast/paint facility for a facelift, said Crownover.

Engine packs, hydraulic systems, cooling systems and every other piece of the ’48 are sent off to custom areas of 714 to be inspected and rebuilt, if necessary, he said.

Before the different components of the vehicle are sent off, however, each piece is tagged and logged in order to keep track of the expensive equipment as it makes its journey down the assembly line, Crownover said.

Once the frame is returned from the paint facility looking fresh and new, re-tuned suspension systems are fitted, giving the vehicle the endearing term “bogey,” he said.

The bogies go through three major stages of rebuild, beginning with the electrical wiring and air systems.

The bogies are then moved down the line to receive state-of-the-art 445 horsepower turbo-powered liquid-cooled Detroit Diesel motors.

The motors are staged with two-speed (with half speeds) HT 740D transmissions, giving the power train dinosaur-like pulling power.

Crownover said in addition to engine packs, stage two of the rebuild process also includes installing the vehicles’ precision hydraulics systems.

Stage three of the rebuild takes the vehicle down the line to be fitted with its radiator, fuel tanks and cab, said Crownover.

The thorough process may seem redundant to onlookers, but the battle stress the vehicles endure make a complete rebuild critical, said Crownover.

Along with the three stages of major component replacement, brakes, bearings, hubs, drums, gaskets, cogs, sprockets and tires are all replaced or refurbished, said Crownover.

There are five civilian Marines designated to specifically build and replace small components that glue the ‘48s together, said Crownover.

With all the intricacies of the rebuild process, taxpayers may expect a longer turnover process.

Eighty-five days have been allotted for each system, said Crownover. But due to the dedication of his 35 civilian Marines, 40 to 60 days is all CWC 714 needs to get the ‘48s back in the fight, he said.

Once the vehicle rebuild has been completed, the vehicle needs to be brought up to “specs” and tested, said Crownover.

The vehicles are started, run up to operating temperatures and taken through a series of stress tests applied to the transmission, hydraulics and suspension, said Crownover.

Next, they are hooked up to a trailer, loaded with 22 tons of weights, the maximum load, and taken through the test track, he said.

MCBs Quality Control team, or QC as Crownover calls them, are tasked with the “burden” of laying at least 20 miles on the vehicles before they can be sent off to Fleet Support Division and either stored, preserved, or deployed, he said.

“These vehicle are from (Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center) Twentynine Palms, (Marine Corps Base) Camp Pendleton or Iraq,” said Crownover, “they have very little time to sit around.”

Production numbers have increased along with operation tempo over the years as well, said Crownover, adding that in the last two years, the shop turned out 26 and 33 vehicles to the fleet Marine force.

This fiscal year, he said, they are already on number 71.

Other Cost Work Centers in support of 714 are CWC 735, which helps out with weights for the final inspection, and CWC 725, that supports them by maintaining the MK17 trailer system, which goes hand-in-hand with the MK48.

“This shop has really done well,” said Crownover of his Civilian Marines, adding,

“These guys are doing wonders.”


David Vargas, heavy mobile equipment repairman, fine-tunes the frame bolts on an MK 48 "bogey." The frame bolts, along with suspension and hydraulics systems, have to be torqued to exact specifications in order to maintain optimal performance. Photo by: Cpl. Andy Hurt