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TCN's easing Marine retrograde back home

26 May 2003 | Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Jones

Third World Country Nationalists, or TCN, transport gear within Kuwait, which eases the transition of 1st Marine Division from the Middle East back to Camp Pendleton.The TCNs come from various countries in Southeast Asia and are contracted to assist the Marines. The TCN's transport any gear needed by the units and is usually transported by 7-ton trucks or the MK48-14 Container Transporter.Every day, roughly a dozen tractor-trailers are driven from Camp Commando to Camp Matilda transporting gear for units returning from Iraq. The units need this gear before they return to the United States."The work being done will save the units roughly a month's worth of time," according to Cpl. Carlos R. Robles, embarkation chief, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.Safety regulations require that each tactical military vehicle has a driver and an assistant driver.The TCN replaces both Marines and enables them to continue to work with their units, said Gunnery Sgt. Lem P. Cadsup, Logistical Readiness Evaluator, 1st Marine Division, Camp Commando. The trucks are escorted in a convoy to Camp Commando, where they are loaded with military gear. They are then transported north to Camp Matilda and unloaded."As the units pushed north there was a lack of military vehicles for use. The company was contracted out and the trucks were used," said Master Sgt. Efren P. Fernandez, Unit Movement Control Center chief. "Every unit feels that their gear is the most important and should be sent north first. We have to look at the flow of Marines headed out of country and use the available trucks accordingly."The use of these contracted workers have encountered a few problems."When we first started, the TCN's were not used to being searched, but they got used to it," said Fernandez."When we first started the program, there was concern over a possible terrorist that was among them. But it soon became clear that all these guy wanted to do was their job," said Cadsup.The hard working TCNs enable the Division units to make a more timely return to the states."A lot of the people here do not understand the amount of hard work and time that these guys do," said Robles.