Marine Corps Logistics Base, Calif. -- When looking at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Yermo Annex, Calif., people will see miles of warehouses and outside storage spaces filled with a wide variety of military equipment.
Among those warehouses is Strip 8, a shop that is comprised of Marines and Civilian Marines specializing in preserving and transporting equipment to the empty spaces. Preserving equipment, mostly vehicles, entails the Marines and Civilian Marines to prepare the equipment to sit for long periods of time.
In the last nine months, Fleet Support Division has preserved 75 M777 Howitzers, eight Humvees and 27 three-way hydraulic forks. The process for preserving the M777 Howitzer is a long one, but it is the breadwinner among preserving military gear, explained Sgt. Michael Pressler, a senior artillery mechanic with FSD.
Planning is the first thing that’s done for the M777 Howitzer. The shop ensures everyone is on the same page before they start working on the gear.
The workers then inspect the gear to make sure the paint, pressure gauges, and data plates are all in good order. Next, employees service the weapon system by cleaning it and plugging the barrel so rust doesn’t start to form. Finally, the weapons are taken out to the storage area and covered with a tarp. Altogether, the process takes 12 man-hours to complete.
Along with the process, there are challenges that arise every day such as working on different gear and not everything going as planned, explained Cpl. Keith Tisdale, a quality control supervisor with FSD.
“The different challenges make me realize that there is more to being a mechanic then just knowing how to turn a wrench … because anybody could do that,” said Tisdale. “Now that I know what kind of work goes into preservation, I look at the equipment in a different way.”
Tisdale, a Salt Lake City, Utah, native, further explained when he was with his previous unit, they would receive gear and it would look like it was never driven before. He never really appreciated why it looked so good. Now, he’s part of the process that makes that happen. He also gets the opportunity to learn more about his trade and become a better mechanic.
Pressler, who has served ten years in the Corps, three of which have been in preservation, said the shop does a lot of behind the scenes work, and every piece of gear receives the same time and effort from the last.
Even though some of them wear utilities and the others don’t, everyone in the shop has a valuable part in ensuring the Marine Corps stays combat ready.
“Working in this shop is great,” said Deshawn Phillips, a preservation mechanic with FSD. “I get to personally interact with the Marines and work with them and that’s why I put a lot of time and effort into my work. I want to make sure that the Marines in the fight have combat ready equipment at all times.”
When the shop is in full swing, everyone helps one another. It’s the basic Marine Corps way. When one guy in the shop needs help finishing a piece of gear, the other guys in the shop come together and help him complete his goal, explained Tisdale.
“Every job has a purpose in the Corps or else it wouldn’t have been created, no matter how big or small your job is … it’s important to someone,” concluded Tisdale.