MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The smell of oil and engine exhaust emit from two adjacent Assault Amphibious Vehicles’ engines, as Marines in oil-splattered jumpsuits work tirelessly to ensure the engines are in good order. A sergeant operates a crane atop an Assault Amphibious Vehicle as other Marines direct him on when and where to lift the broken engine. The sergeant sets the engine down onto a wooden palate while other Marines clean and repair it in a frenzy of rapid movements.
AAV mechanics from 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion support mission operations by fixing any broken AAVs or equipment on the spot. If they can’t immediately make repairs, they tow it back to the combat support area and swap it out for a refurbished one.
The forward maintenance capabilities these Marines provide allow them to fix broken AAVs and get them back in the fight. 3rd AAB providing forward repair capability for the infantry units enables them to maintain their operational tempo, according to Capt. Brian A. Jaquith, the Company A. Commander of 3rd AAB, 1st Marine Division.
The activities of being a Marine mechanic involve being patient enough to withstand the arbitrary nature that comes with equipment repair.
“Flexibility and having resiliency is really effective here because no job is ever the same,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas R. Faltynski, recovery chief, Co. A., 3rd AAB, 1st Mar. Div. “I could be working on the engine for five minutes and then [on a different engine] it could take me two hours to get that same project done.”
Although the threat of enemy combatants is only scenario-based, the Marine mechanics work steadfast to maintain mission readiness.
“We are being mechanics, changing engines, changing transmissions, and troubleshooting issues so we can get the infantry units back in the fight with the full power of their AAVs,” said Faltynski, a native of San Jose. “We are simulating a combat scenario because the enemy doesn’t just strike from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We need to be ready when they are.”
Vehicle repair is no easy feat as it requires malleability, manpower, teamwork and cooperation. Keeping vehicles operationally ready contributes to the overall Marine Corps’ goal of readiness at any given moment and adds to overall mission accomplishment.