CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Two soldiers with the British Army’s Theater Equipment Support Battalion have spent the last several days turning wrenches among some of 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward)’s finest maintainers.
Beginning Jan. 16, Lance Cpl. Craig Heaton and Craftsman Adam Evans traded places with a pair of their American counterparts for an opportunity to see how the Corps keeps their gear in the fight.
The swap is part of an ongoing exchange program between Marine Air-Ground Task Force Support Battalion 11.2’s Maintenance Company and their coalition counterparts at Camp Bastion.
According to Maj. Brian Spooner, the commanding officer of Maint. Co., it’s all about maintaining positive relationships with our NATO partners.
“It has allowed us to compare levels of maintenance and share ideas … come up with unique solutions to unpredictable problems,” said Spooner, a native of Fort Collins, Colo.
The troops spent much of the week running diagnostics on various types of engines. Heaton, a vehicle mechanic and native of Northhamptonshire, England, noted an obvious difference between the ways the two forces approach equipment repair.
The afternoon of Jan. 20 found the exchange pair at the Intermediate Maintenance Activity lot troubleshooting a Detroit Diesel V6 Logistics Vehicle System truck engine down to the component level – something quite different from what they would have done on the British side. Where the Marines do a lot of maintenance on site, Heaton explained that his unit would typically replace the whole part, an entire engine in this case, and send the broken piece of gear back to England for refurbishing.
“We were originally taught this type of thing in trade training, but you get to your unit and start doing things the way they do things and some of it fades away,” he said. “This brings it back, enhances it.
“A lot of the equipment we use is similar to what we are working on here, same transmissions, so we’ll be able to fix more issues on site and save it from being sent back.”