FLEET SUPPORT DIVISION, MCLB Barstow, Calif. -- Inside of a pair of ordinary-looking warehouses aboard the Yermo Annex of Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Marines are working side by side with Civilian Marines accomplishing remarkable feats of vehicle repair and protection.
Commonly known as “Strip 8,” the branch, on a daily basis, deals with the preservation and maintenance of equipment and vehicles, ranging from “up-armored Humvees to water buffalo trailers,” according to Deshawn Phillips, a preservation servicer from Oakland, Calif.
“Our bread and butter is preservation,” he emphasized, referring to the careful and deliberate system used to cover and protect vulnerable areas of vehicles and equipment from the harsh effects of sunlight, rust and grime.
“We specialize in short and long-term, or Level-A storage, and shipment, which means depending on the level of storage, what we store can be sent on a moment’s notice, whether it’s to deployed units in Iraq and Afghanistan or a training unit at Camp Pendleton.”
“We preserve equipment and perform minor maintenance on vehicles, as well as upgrades,” added Cpl. Miguel Verdin, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic with Fleet Support Division, Marine Corps Logistics Command. “We also perform full maintenance on Humvees, (Logistics Vehicle Systems) and trailers.”
“Anything that Maintenance Center Barstow puts out, the Civilian Marines here are able to preserve,” he continued.
Working together towards the same mission has bonded the Strip 8 work force of more than 20 employees, represented by a diverse mixture of Marines, civil service workers and contractors, remarked the 27-year-old Phillips.
“I have a great relationship with my co-workers,” he said. “I’m from a military family, so I appreciate all the service members do. It really makes me feel proud. I’ve had other jobs but they’ve never made me feel the sense of pride I feel here at Strip 8. We may not be in combat, but I know that the work we do here makes a difference out there on the front lines.”
“We work in a relaxed environment and everyone here gets along great,” added Verdin, a 21-year-old leatherneck.
“We communicate well and often have group functions together outside of work, like barbecues. Our crew is really tight.”
“My brother is a Marine,” offered Chris Wood, a 29-year-old heavy mobile equipment mechanic from Phelan, Calif., “so it makes you feel good that you’re doing something to help your country and support the Marines who are going to war. I think it’s good to give knowledge to the younger Marines based on my experience as a mechanic. A lot of times I’m able to give them little tricks and tools that will help them perform their jobs a little easier.”