2nd Maintenance Battalion armors up 24th MEU
By Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker
| | December 12, 2005
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
More than 150 Marines with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, have been working day and night to ensure the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s vehicles are up armored and ready for a combat environment.
The day and night crews, consisting of 80 per, have been equipping 16 vehicles per day with the advanced armor in 12-hour rotations for twelve consecutive days, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Freddie McDonald, the assistant maintenance management officer for Motor Transport Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd MLG.
The operation, typically called an armor exercise, is to prepare the MEU to face the inevitable combat environment and ensure they are as safe as possible. This is the third ARMOREX the battalion has been involved in – they also armored vehicles for the 22nd and 26th MEUs.
“The reason these vehicles need to be re-enforced is due to enemy insurgents becoming more wise and knowing how we think,” said McDonald. “We needed an edge. We needed to make sure they were never on top.”
The advanced armor being used is the new Military Armored Kits, or second-generation armor.
The kits replace the doors, windows and the underbelly of the vehicle and are designed to aid the vehicle and its occupants in the wake of an improvised explosive device attack.
Improvised Explosive Devices are responsible for more than one third of the deaths in Iraq and implementing the MAKs is one of the measures being taken to counter the statistic.
Along with administering the advanced armor, the kits also require an air conditioning system be installed. Since occupants are no longer able to open their windows or tops to cool off, the A/C system is designed to help them beat the heat.
Although, the work is hard and consistent, the Marines involved know the work they do is going to help save the lives of their fellow Marines once they are deployed to Iraq, according to Lance Cpl. Jarred C. Boone of Pittsburgh, Pa., a heavy equipment operator with the 24th MEU, as he helps install a ballistic windshield in a Humvee.
“Knowing that the work we do during this operation helps Marines stay alive over there definitely motivates me to do a good job,” said Cpl. Ryan G. Lewis of Philadelphia, a mechanic with Motor Transport Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd MLG. “We know we can’t make any mistakes on this so that helps us work more efficiently.”
Overall, the Marines involved in this operation may be missing some time off, but their hard work and dedication to protecting the lives of their fellow Marines surpasses those feelings.
The battalion hopes to be completed with the exercise by Dec. 16 in time for the MEU’s upcoming deployment in the coming months.
“Installing these kits is extremely important to safety and mission accomplishment,” said McDonald. “The mothers and fathers of our Marines need to know that we are doing everything we can to take care of their sons and daughters over there so they may come home safely.”