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Garry Morrissett, utilities and energy management supervisor, Richard Birt, Kelly Trippa and Bill Motzko, mechanics, Public Works Division, hold the broken transformer that caused a power outage aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Jan. 12, 2016. Morrissett, Birt, Trippa and Motzko were among the five men who worked to repair the power outage on New Years’ Day. (Official Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Thomas Mudd

PWD works to improve Combat Center

12 Jan 2017 | Cpl. Thomas Mudd Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

On New Years’ Eve, amidst the festivities, anticipation and delight of ringing in a New Year, the Combat Center lost its power during a lightning storm. After lightning struck a power pole, the Publics Works Division sent five professionals to fix the problem, requiring them to leave their homes and celebrations to bring power back to the residents of the Combat Center. In less than two hours, they found and repaired the problem.

“There are a lot of things that could go wrong during a lightning storm,” Grubbs said. “It can be dangerous for the people repairing the issue, but regardless of the fact, they worked as fast and efficiently as they could to bring the power back.”

The goal of the Publics Works Division is to continuously improve the installation’s infrastructure and facilities to make the Combat Center a rewarding and satisfying place to live and work. The PWD teams responds to problems caused by aging infrastructure and works to ensure the quality of life for Combat Center patrons by fixing those issues as quickly as possible.

“The people at PWD are always going out to fix one issue or another,” said Glenn Grubbs, deputy public works officer, PWD. “Plenty of different buildings deal with loss of cooling units or an issue with getting power to the buildings. We want to fix that.”

Recently PWD began a micro-grid expansion project to better distribute energy throughout the Combat Center. This micro-grid will allow the installation to stay powered if the flow of electricity from Southern California Edison, the utility serving the Combat Center and surrounding communities, is disrupted.

“This micro-grid will allow the base to go into island mode,” said Gary Morrissett, utilities and energy management supervisor, PWD. “This mode will make the base completely self-sufficient with its power supply. Since we would be able to function without SCE, we would no longer have to worry about losing power. We could continue to function even without an outside energy source.”

PWD has also purchased a 650T portable chiller that can be used to keep buildings cool while work is done on the cooling units.
“We bought the portable chiller so that buildings can stay at a comfortable temperature while we work on their cooling systems,” Morrissett said. “Because we have a limited number of people to work on the problems that arise on base, we need to ensure that when we work on a problem we do it quickly while keeping everyone as comfortable as possible.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms