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04-28-09, 06:46 AM
‘Sustaining the warrior;' 2nd Maintenance Battalion keeps Marines in the fight

4/27/2009 By Lance Cpl. James W. Clark , II MEF
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Editor’s note: Part one of a four part series.

For each Marine equipped, armed and armored, there are Marines overseeing the packing, loading and shipping of gear. They take stock of what is needed and what is missing. Behind every round that is fired and replaced, or every damaged weapon that is repaired, there is a Marine from a logistics command that brings the equipment needed in order to win the fight.

2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, is made up of more than 1,600 Marines who are responsible for repairing, supplying and maintaining equipment used by Marines on deployment and at home.

“To take care of one Marine, you need a host of others,” said Capt. Keith Burgess, the maintenance operations officer, 2nd Maintenance Battalion.

A maintenance battalion is responsible for the repair, distribution and maintenance of weapons, vehicles and gear, ranging from refrigeration systems to electronic equipment and weapons systems such as night vision devices and rifle optics, Burgess said.

When the Marines of 2nd Maintenance Battalion need equipment of their own, they’re often able to create it on the spot.

“Whatever the part we need, we can make it,” Burgess said, gesturing to a slate of metal with the outline of wrenches and sprockets cut out. “It’s not a matter of whether or not we can do it, it just depends on whether or not it’s cost effective.”

Marines from within logistics commands not only equip, repair and transport the gear to Marines on the frontlines, they sometimes find themselves there, Burgess said.

More than 900 Marines from 2nd Maintenance Battalion (Fwd), will be leaving for pre-deployment training at Exercise Mojave Viper in May.

Marines from 2nd MLG must set up shops and workstations in order to work on weapons, armor and vehicles in theater, Burgess explained.

“It’s our job to continue to support Marines on deployment,” Burgess said.

In garrison or in theater, 2nd Maintenance Battalion’s Marines and sailors work tirelessly to support their fellow Marines and sailors to ensure they have all they need to be successful.

“When you think of Marines, you think of grunts, but they need us so they can accomplish their mission,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jennifer Clay, the maintenance chief, 2nd Maintenance Battalion. “It may not be the sexiest job, but we get the infantry what they need.”

Maintenance and repair might be one of the less glamorous military occupational specialties, but it can be more challenging than it is sometimes made out to be.

“It’s a lot harder than it looks and requires a lot of patience,” said Cpl. Calvin Hartley, an automotive organizational mechanic, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, and Charles Town, W.Va., native. “You can’t be afraid to get a few cuts and bruises.”

Hartley’s sentiments were echoed by other Marines from the battalion.

“You need to diagnose the problem and figure out how to solve it. You need to be patient,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Finch, an automotive organizational mechanic, 2nd Maintenance Battalion. “We’re here to make sure Marines have what they need.”