Photo Information

Cpl. Nathan E. Burrell, a logistics vehicle system operator with Motor Transport Platoon, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, ground-guides a damaged light armored vehicle onto a cargo trailer during a vehicle recovery mission in western Anbar province, Iraq, April 25. Burrell, 21, from Bloomingdale, Ill., is part of a wrecker team that provides recovery service to units in and around Anbar province to continue operations.

Photo by Cpl Ryan Tomlinson

Wreckers provide roadside assistance

1 May 2008 | Cpl Ryan Tomlinson

When a vehicle breaks down conducting an operation, Marines in Iraq can’t just call a tow truck.

Wreckers with Motor Transport Platoon, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 provide roadside service around Anbar province, for 2nd LAR.  Whenever a vehicle with 2nd LAR breaks down, it’s up to the wreckers to bring that vehicle back to camp for repairs.

“Recovering broken down and damaged vehicles keeps the battalion in constant readiness with vehicles to carry on the mission,” said Cpl. Nathan E. Burrell, a logistics vehicle system operator with Motor Transport Platoon. “We recover all of 2nd LAR.”

The wrecker crew is made up of just two Marines, Burrell and Sgt. Jeremy C. Wilhoit, a section leader with Motor Transport Platoon, delivering a combined 10 years of experience recovering vehicles. The team is on call 24-hours a day to conduct missions whenever a vehicle breaks down.

With all of their experience, the wreckers are always ready for any type of situation. Whether it’s recovering a light armored vehicle or 7-ton truck, every call is different for these Marines.  Whenever unexpected situations are presented to them, they look at it as a learning experience to be mastered.

“We both have a mutual understanding of what to do in any given situation,” said Wilhoit, 26, from Spotsylvania, Va. “Even though calls happen at the strangest times, we both have experience (to handle anything).”

After the long hours and missions, the Marines maintain pride in their role as wreckers. According to both members of the team, it’s not just pride: it’s satisfaction.

“I always have a sense of accomplishment recovering a busted vehicle to assist the battalion and its operations,” said Burrell, 21, from Bloomingdale, Ill. “I enjoy this simply because it’s a different challenge every time we go out.”


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