MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- Although Fightertown is known for aviation, the mission here at the Air Station is not just about keeping the jets in the sky. Logistics support is just as critical – in some cases literally providing the oil that keeps tactical vehicles here up and running.
Roughnecks like Cpl. John Bubier from Combat Logistics Company 23 turn wrenches and troubleshoot engine problems just like their flightline counterparts, but remain mostly behind the scenes, tucked away in their motor transport lot near the Hard Corps Café here.
“We are here to keep all tactical vehicles mission capable and combat ready,” said Bubier, a motor transport mechanic. “What I do varies from day to day, depending on the type of vehicle in need of repairs. Normally if a very large job comes in, most of the shop works together to fix the problem.”
The Roughnecks, part of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., directly support Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 here, repairing utility, heavy equipment and other tactical vehicles.
Daily jobs can include pulling the engine on a Logistics Vehicle System, replacing the transmission on a seven–ton truck and crawling in and out from under humvee, explained Bubier, a 20-year-old Middlefield, Conn., native.
The maintenance section is comprised of 25 Marines; the small size of the unit contributes to high unit cohesion and makes leadership more prevalent to witness than in larger units. According to Staff Sgt. Michael Jackson, the motor transport chief at CLC-23, Bubier has distinguished himself amongst the other Marines.
“Corporal Bubier is an outstanding and very dependable Marine,” said Sgt. George Thompson, a motor transport mechanic with CLC-23. “His fellow Marines see his work ethic and it makes them work harder.”
Thompson and Bubier served together in Iraq with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“He always worked well over his rank, he acted like a corporal well before he picked up (rank),” Thompson said.
Attention to detail is taken very seriously in Bubier’s job because the smallest detail could cause vehicles to work improperly or not at all.
“Our job affects the lives of civilians and Marines. If we mess up on the brake system or don’t tighten down the right bolt it could cost lives,” Jackson said.
“Most of the time, the first time we crank the engine nothing happens, then we go back through, do a quick check over our work and find the small thing that was done improperly or not connected all the way, fix it and it cranks,” Bubier said.
The job can bring frustrating moments when the problem with a particular vehicle or part cannot be figured out, or during long hours when there are high priority vehicles requiring non-stop maintenance, according to Bubier.
“The best feeling while doing my job is when a vehicle comes in and without looking at it you know what the problem is,” Bubier said. “Then you troubleshoot it to make sure you are correct, when you find out you are right, you fix it… outstanding!”
Bubier and his fellow Roughnecks may seemingly work in the shadow of the flight line, but know getting their jobs done is just as important here at Fightertown.
“We keep the Marines on the ground moving,” Bubier said.