MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- It’s a wrenching job for the four Marines left at the II Marine Expeditionary Force engineer shop. Nearly 20 engineers deployed from the shop earlier this year, leaving the same workload of projects, repairs and maintenance for the remaining four.
With their job responsibilities nearly quadrupled, the Marines of II MEF engineers must constantly be prepared to take on an array of tasks.
“There’s no such thing as a typical day here,” said Cpl. Kevin M. House, engineer chief, II MEF engineers. “We’ll go from building street signs to fixing field air conditioning units.”
The fully-manned shop included several water purification engineers, heavy equipment operators, generator operators and combat engineers. Now every job falls in the hands of a few.
“I love it that way,” said Pfc. Jesse L. Davis, II MEF engineers. “You get
cross trained in everything and get great experience across the board.”
One of the unit’s many responsibilities has been to prepare for a hazardous materials inspection. The Marines were responsible for compiling material safety data for many chemical compounds such as air fresheners and cleaning products. Inspectors ensured the engineers had a spill plan for each hazard site.
“We all have to be able to do just about anything, since there’s so few of us,” said Lance Cpl. Chad C. Smith, Marine Corps integrated maintenance management system coordinator, or MIMMS, with the engineers. “I’m tasked to order and distribute parts but could find myself working in the woodshop or repairing a generator.”
Their work hours are never constant, always depending on the amount of tasks that need to be accomplished.
“I’m generally here at 6:30 in the morning and sometimes we’ll stay as late as (10:00 p.m.) if we’re busy,” Smith said.
The engineers are just as concerned about helping other Marines achieve their missions as they are about achieving their own.
“A lot of our time is also spent providing services for training-team cells,” House said. “We’ll build items such as frames for target silhouettes whenever they’re requested.”
The one-story red building that houses the engineers may appear small from the front, but looks can be deceiving. The facility contains a sizeable workshop, two repair bays and a lot jammed with generators, field A/C units and heavy equipment, which includes a Sky Trac, a heavy-duty forklift that lifts up to 7,000 lbs.
The versatile engineers handle their facility, equipment and tasks as a joint effort in doing what they love.
“The way we see it, work is play,” said Smith. “We just like getting our hands dirty.”
These four Marines work together with such a fluent chemistry that they conquer a workload that could stress the strongest, but they make it look like it’s just another day on the job. They exemplify the core of what a team of Marines is truly capable of.