View Full Version : Hercules recovery vehicle destined for MCB

12-15-05, 12:45 PM
Hercules recovery vehicle destined for MCB
MCLB Barstow
Story by Cpl. Nich R. Babb

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. (Dec. 15, 2005) -- The Marine Corps has a reputation of never leaving anything behind after a mission. However, in an unfortunate instance that a heavy piece of machinery was to break down, a group of Marines cannot just pick it up and carry it.

It is through the employment of the M88A2 Hercules Recovery Vehicle that Marines are able to move extremely large pieces of equipment such as an M1A1 tank.

During January 2006, MCB is planning to start their proof of principle on a damaged Hercules vehicle to perfect the rebuilding process needed to be taken in Fiscal Year 07 to effectively rebuild 11 of the incoming damaged Hercules vehicles, said Rick Gilmore, project manager for the line.

"The Hercules is a battlefield tow truck for all heavy equipment," Gilmore said.

According to the M88A2 fact file page, at www.usmc.mil/factfile, the Hercules is a newer version of the original M88s that were unable to tow the heavier M1A1 tanks. The Hercules' weight fully loaded is 70 tons and is capable of lifting 35 tons with a winch and hoist system supported by the rear boom.

Before MCB was chosen to do the rebuild, the United States Army's maintenance depots took care of the repairing, said Gilmore. Recently though, the depots have been overwhelmed and haven't had as fast of a turn around as the Corps desired, and the task of rebuilding the vehicles was given to MCB.

The vehicles don't usually have much battle-inflicted damage, but due to the frequency of use, they contain lots of wear and tear, Gilmore said.

The purpose of the initial proof of principle is to figure out how effective the workers of MCB are at completing a Hercules rebuild, said Gilmore.

The shop will have a 180-day repair cycle to start with, but during the POP, the crew will attempt to shorten the repair cycle time by answering questions dealing with the types of tools that are needed, where the shop is going to get parts from and how the repair in general can be expedited through a change in procedure.

It is important to have a quick turnaround for the vehicles due to the frequency that they are going to be sent to the maintenance center, Gilmore said.

"The maintenance cycle has been shortened for the Hercules, so they (Marines) can get them in before they are broke beyond repair," said Gilmore.

Since the shop is completely rebuilding the vehicles, there are going to be a "bazillion," tests that will need to be performed on the vehicle when it is done, Gilmore said. Like everything at the maintenance center, the final product must be in perfect working order whose efficiency is assured by a long list of tests performed on the product.

MCB plans to have the Hercules line as a recurring line that will keep workers busy for years to come, said Gilmore.

With MCB handling the repair of the Hercules recovery vehicles from now on, the Marine Corps is going to now be able to receive an outstanding product by the time they need it and not later, Gilmore said. It is the maintenance center's ability to take on new projects that allow it to help move the mission of the Marine Corps into the future.