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Pfc. Mark Holinsworth, an artillery repair mechanic with Exercise Support Division, works on an M777A2 howitzer July 21. Holinsworth and his fellow Marines spent a week preparing the weapon for re-deployment to the Combat Center’s training ranges.

Photo by Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Mechs keep Marines rolling

24 Jul 2009 | Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Marines work and train hard at the Combat Center’s Enhanced Mojave Viper and their vehicles and equipment can’t always keep up; that’s where the Combat Center’s Exercise Support Division comes into play.

The Marines and civilian employees of ESD maintain and distribute communications equipment, motor transport assets, ordnance materials and engineering needs to units training in Enhanced Mojave Viper, said Maj. Bryan J. Boyle, the operations officer of ESD.

Thousands of Marines go through Enhanced Mojave Viper, a 28-day pre-deployment training exercise, at the Combat Center’s training ranges each year. These Marines require a wide range of tactical vehicles, weapons systems and other equipment before deploying abroad.

“During calendar year 2008, ESD completed 8,797 equipment repair orders, applied over 52,252 repair parts, and issued 6,818 principal end-items,” said Boyle, a Wilkes-Barre, Penn., native.  “We are on track to exceed last year’s figures by over 20 percent.”

There are only 74 Marines and 166 civilian employees who make up all of ESD.

“This is a pretty good work environment,” said Lance Cpl. Sam Engebose, an artillery repair mechanic with ESD and Lake Oswego, Ore., native.  “We all work hard and have a good time together.”

Boyle said the quantity and quality work ESD Marines accomplish speaks for their character.

“Professional and talented best describes ESD personnel, both Marine and civilian,” Boyle said.  “Because of what we do, and the large amount of equipment ESD possesses, our mechanics are some of the best and the brightest.  Through repetition of maintenance actions, coupled with an increased operational tempo and reduced opportunities for maintenance pauses, the entire workforce compliments and assists each other under a one-team, one-fight methodology.”

ESD’s outstanding performance throughout the years has not gone unnoticed.  In 2005, ESD was honored as the Logistics Unit of the Year by the Marine Corps Association.

ESD’s support is not limited to Enhanced Mojave Viper or even to the Combat Center.

Besides providing equipment support to the Combat Center’s Infantry Officer's Course, Advisor Training Group, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group, Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, and other tenant organizations aboard the base,  ESD also provides equipment support to Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif.

Lance Cpl. Paul Gordon, a motor transport mechanic with ESD, said he finds a lot of satisfaction in his job field.

“Everyone in the Marine Corps plays a different role; from cooks to grunts to mechanics,” said Gordon, a Tucson, Ariz., native.  “I love working on cars and trucks in my spare time, so who could have a better job in the Marine Corps?”


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