MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
The Marines with Operations Platoon, Company A, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, are essentially the construction workers of the Marine Corps. They allow combat Marines to move forward with the roads they carve out of sand and dirt, and give their brethren somewhere safe to live with the bases they build.
The Marines with 7th ESB were at the Combat Center training, but also took the time to make life a little easier for Marines and save the Corps a little money.
They built a parking lot where deploying Marines can safely store their vehicles while they are deployed.
The task of building a parking lot in a sand pit is not an easy one.
The engineers had to make sure that precise measurements were made and are executed correctly.
“This job would be a tough one if it was their first time,” said 1st Lt. Ian Chuckran, platoon commander, Co. A, 7th ESB. “But these guys have been working together for a while.”
Operations platoon recently returned from a deployment from Afghanistan where they were doing work similar to this project.
“We were just in Afghanistan making this raised road that was about 15 kilometers,” said Cpl. Christopher Wright, lot chief, operations platoon.
The platoon’s responsibilities can range from constructing a forward operating base and entry control points to building roads and culverts.
“Wherever dirt is moving, we’re there,” Wright said.
The experience and expertise the platoon gained in Afghanistan translated into ensuring the project here ran smoothly. For the platoon, this was also an opportunity to refine their skills with the heavy machinery.
“Operating the 120M Grader can be stressful,” said Wright. “But, it’s my favorite piece of gear out here. I love it.”
Working in the Combat Center’s unique desert environment was also an advantage for the platoon, which is based along the coast at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“This setting is a lot like what were we used to in Afghanistan,” said Chackran. “All the skills they’re using here can be used in whatever else they’re doing it.”