Marines take pride in their rides

4 Aug 2006 | Pfc. Christopher D. Lyttle

Marines of the II Marine Expeditionary Force are turning heads on base with their eccentric but stylish vehicles.

It’s no secret that some Marines coming home from a long deployment will invest some of their hard-earned money into a set of wheels they’ve long deserved, then make a few modifications to make it their own. Some even come into the Corps with a car or truck that they’ve developed a history with by putting much time and work into it.

It’s those motor savvy Marines that will go the extra mile to stand out and show everyone the pride they take in driving the most unique vehicles.

Lance Cpl. Harold James Baldwin, personnel clerk with weapons company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, got his 1979 Datsun 210 from his mother and rejuvenated it with newer gear such as a stereo and global positioning system.

“What really makes my car stand out is the train horn I ordered online. That thing blows out 180 decibels with 150 (pounds per square inch) force,” said Baldwin.

Aside from some modifications on base being a little more outlandish, they’re all original in their own right.

Cpl. Andrew S. Prusaitis, a combined arms instructor with II MEF MHG , completely rebuilt his 1988 Jeep CJ with his father, a project that spanned more than six years.

“The three gear transmission actually came out of a two and a half-ton dump truck. I’ve taken it mudding, on sand dunes, you name it. Here on base I’m just driving it as my summer vehicle,” said Prusaitis.

It’s not uncommon that many Marines will opt to use a car as their seasonal vehicle, or because they’re collecting the ones you don’t see everyday.

Cpl. Heather K. Freeman, the assistant dispatcher for II Marine Headquarters Group Motor Transport, purchased her second 1977 Ford LTD II nine months ago.

“I found it online for $1,500 from a seller in South Carolina. It’s modified with a 460 (block size) engine. The sports scoop and tail are aftermarket, so they weren’t made with the car,” said Freeman.

On an installation that service members are able to pride themselves about sharpness and uniformity, a car that one applies their own style to can say a little about the driver as a person.