CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Regardless of other operations Marines participated in throughout the last 10 years, like fighting a land locked war in Afghanistan, their amphibious capabilities and flexibility remain a hallmark of the service.
Across the globe small water crafts are utilized in numerous operations. Before anything hits the water however, Marines are charged with ensuring these boats are mission ready.
Aboard Camp Lejeune, a handful of these Marines can be found within Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, where these small craft mechanics are responsible for inspecting and repairing the watercrafts for the battalion.
These devil dogs keep Marines afloat, literally.
Though they won’t deploy as a unit to do this job, they still understand the importance of their duties, said Lance Cpl. Christopher Buss, a heavy equipment small craft mechanic with the company.
Bridge Co. is in charge of approximately 25 watercrafts, that all must be inspected once a month along with other maintenance they might require after a training exercise or operation. Keeping the boats mission capable is essential because the boats have a range of capabilities, from transporting Marines to transporting heavy equipment across bodies of water.
“These boats take a lot of wear and tear while they are being used by the battalion,” said Cpl. Carlos Fagan, a heavy equipment small craft mechanic with the company and head of the maintenance section. “Something as small as a light being out to something as large as a motor not working can keep a boat from being used.”
An inoperable boat is a problem because mission readiness is priority number one. To maintain this readiness, 75 percent of the boats must be fully functional at all times, which is why deadlines are so important.
“We have a turnaround time of 30 days,” said Buss. “Half of those 30 days is usually taken up with the ordering and shipping process for the parts, so in reality we only have fifteen days to get a boat on the ready line.”
The ready line is where all mission ready watercrafts sit until they are checked out for use. A full ready line means Marines are working hard and making mission.
“Whenever we have boats on the ready line it’s good,” said Fagan. “That means we are doing our job fast and proficiently and that keeps everyone happy.”