FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- In the darkness that came with nightfall and the end of another day in the field, he crouched inside the hood of a dust-covered humvee, still working to fix it's broken parts.
"I wouldn't change what I do for the world," said Lance Cpl. Paul C. Cram, as he reached for another tool with hard-working, greased-covered hands.
The Little Rock, Ark., native, along with 35 other Marines provided, maintenance support for Combat Service Support Detachment-25, who recently deployed to support Marine Air-Ground Task Force-10's participation in Exercise Rolling Thunder 1-01 here.
With a face smeared with grit and oil, the 22-year-old motor transportation mechanic smiled and said, "We are like gold out here."
The maintenance platoon kept their hands and their tools busy repairing everything from generators to transfer cases and engines.
"This is the busiest of the three Braggs I have been on," said Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Fuller, decked in coveralls. "We have repaired over 75 pieces of equipment out here. If a unit loses an engine, they bring it here, and we can replace it for them."
Motor transport, engineering, utilities, communication/electronic maintenance, ordinance and small arms made up the forces behind the maintenance platoon.
The majority of the unit is motor transport, said Fuller.
"We make sure the status of the trucks are good," said Cram. "We see if they need any parts, make sure the work gets done and get them right back out."
A hangar complete with all the tools and equipment of a veteran mechanic, along with outside working areas, set the stage for the motor transport mechanics work area.
Humvees and 5-tons with various ailments scattered the lot waiting to be repaired.
A new piece of equipment to the Marines here was a kind of mobile service station called Charlie C7033, an emergency maintenance, or contact truck. A rapid request for service on a vehicle would go through CSSD's operation center, and maintenance would determine the problem.
"This is the first exercise that it has been used on," said Fuller. "It can do everything from motor transport maintenance to welding of aluminum parts."
On a case-by-case basis, a contact truck would drive out to the site instead of having the broken vehicle sent back to camp.
With only the harsh light of a florescent lamp to illuminate the broken parts of the humvee, Cram steadily worked late into the night to get the job completed.
While other Marines had already taken their boots off and layed their head to rest, the 'devil dogs' in the maintenance platoon stayed elbow deep in grease and oil until well past 11 o'clock.