View Full Version : Engineers fuel, cool communications gear

12-29-05, 12:42 PM
Engineers fuel, cool communications gear
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:Lance Cpl. Josh Cox

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Dec. 28, 2005) -- Communication is vital to accomplish the mission in Iraq. The Marines of the Engineer’s Platoon, 8th Communication Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II MEF (Fwd), make sure the unit’s communication gear is fueled, cooled and ready for operation.

The mission of the Engineer’s Platoon is “to provide support for communications,” said Sgt. Anthony Holifield, platoon sergeant, Engineer’s Platoon, 8th Comm. Bn. “We support generators for power, we cool the equipment with air conditioners, and we basically move heavy equipment with our forklifts and cranes.”

Holifield, a Rockville Centre, N.Y., native, said the gear the platoon supports plays a massive role in operations here.

“The generators power up the satellites that provide communications,” said Holifield. “[The platoon supports] the cooling equipment that cools all the gear and makes sure it doesn’t overheat, and cools the Marines, making sure they are comfortable enough to do their jobs.”

Holifield said the engineers here are diverse, consisting of active and reserve Marines from around the Corps.

“We have five different units that make up the Engineer Platoon,” he said. “Everyone is coming together, they are motivated and they are accomplishing the mission as well as they can.”

Holifield said the diverse atmosphere gives active and reserve Marines the chance to become more proficient in their military occupational specialty.

The platoon is consistently training making sure each Marine is up-to-speed with the unit’s mission, and training is conducted on Marine Corps knowledge and tactics.

“Every single day there is training going on,” said Holifield. “I see the guys working on the gear, and if they don’t know something, they’ll go to one of the corporals.”

Holifield said the platoon has many junior Marines who hit the ground running upon arrival to Iraq.

“A lot of these Marines are straight out of MOS school,” he said. “They have adapted very well in a very short amount of time to be able to keep the ball and communications rolling out here. The noncommissioned officers we have here are some of the best in the battalion because of their leadership skills.”

“I’m pretty much wet behind the ears,” said Pfc. Seth A. Eklund, refrigeration mechanic, Engineer Platoon, 8th Comm. Bn., II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD). “I’m like one of the most junior Marines on deck here.

“So far, everyone has made me feel at home here,” said Eklund, a native of Stryker, Ohio. “It’s a nice work environment. I’ve learned a lot of different things.”

Holifield said the platoon takes part in several activities to keep morale high in the unit.

“A lot of guys here love to do Marine Corps Martial Arts,” he said.

The platoon even has an area specifically devoted to the program.
The Marines also have movie or game night, a special time of fellowship dedicated to a good film and a junk food buffet.

“It’s just that camaraderie we do there that keeps us motivated to go through the next day,” he said.