Motor Transport Maintenance technicians, making the Corps’ newest mechanics

22 Jul 2010 | Lance Cpl. Victor A. Barrera

For 59 training days Marines aboard Camp Johnson pour over books and listen attentively, learning what will be their job for the rest of their enlistment. They will learn how to perform inspections, run tests, make adjustments, service and repair motor transport vehicles. In short, they will be Motor Transport Maintenance technicians.

“To be in this (military occupational specialty) you need strong mechanical maintenance score,” said Sgt. Jonathan Flum, an instructor with Motor Transport Maintenance Instruction Company, Logistics Operations School, Marine Corps Combat Service Support School, Training and Education Command, Camp Johnson. “As long as a Marine has a mechanical ability and willingness to learn we can turn him into a mechanic.”

Some Marines that come through the course may be video-gamers, while others have spent some time working on engines even before they enlisted.

“I’ve had past experience working on engines, I used to work on clunkers back home,” said Pfc. Michael Funk, a Marine currently going through the Automotive Organizational Maintenance Course. “Even with experience you still need patience; you have to take something that is broken and fix it up.”

The school uses a building block approach to teach students about their future MOS. The schooling begins with mobile air conditioning, where the Marines will receive their 609 certification, which is essential for any person repairing or servicing motor vehicle’s air conditioning. The students then start WITH OPERATIONS INSTRUCTIONAL TRAINING (OIT). STUDENTS RECEIVE A SHOP USE ONLY LICENSE FOR HMMWV AND MTVR SERIES VEHICLES.

After OIT, the students will begin Automotive Maintenance Principles where they learn the about proper tool use and engine fundamentals. It is then that they rebuild a 50 CC motor.

“We start them off at a smaller scale like the 50 CC motor and then move them on to the bigger vehicles,” said Flum. “After they have done that they move on to the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement.”

Marines learn how to repair the MTVR. Students begin to have more hands-on training on a specific vehicle, applying fundamentals and honing their skills on a particular system, according to Flum.

After the MTVR the students focus on the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles. Just like the 7-ton the Marines become skilled at troubleshooting vehicle faults, and managing suspension systems, repairing engine accessory systems, brake systems, induction and exhaust systems and transmission systems. They also learn about steering, removal and installation of major automotive assemblies and preventive maintenance checks and services. The course ends with Unit Removal and Replacement, which involves removing an entire engine, troubleshooting transmission faults, repairing steering and suspension components then re-installing the engine, according to Flum.

“At the end of the course we have them take everything they have learned and put it to use,” said Flum.

Marines who graduate the course go on to become basically-trained mechanics, each one armed with the tools and knowledge needed to keep vehicles running which in turn help keep the Marine Corps running like a smooth engine.