MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Beyond the flight line, the Air Station’s "Roughnecks" turn wrenches in a hot maintenance bay. The skilled Marines, though not drilling for oil, ensure that all of the earth moving machines, vehicles and utility equipment keep working.
Combat Logistic Company 23, the "Roughnecks," boasts Marines of a variety of occupational fields that allows them to ensure the maintenance of vehicles and heavy equipment is kept up.
“We supply the third echelon maintenance for heavy equipment, motor transportation, and utilities equipment of [Marine Wing Support Squadron 273] and other squadrons aboard the Air Station,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Hemenway, CLC-23 maintenance chief. “It is our job to fix their equipment and get it back to those Marines, ensuring their mission readiness.”
The large undertaking of providing maintenance to so many machines requires a united front to keep the forklifts, 7-ton trucks, and numerous other vehicles on the road. The Roughnecks work together to complete their mission to keep all of the ground side equipment on the Air Station out of the repair bay.
“Everyone helps out regardless of what their [military occupational specialty] is,” said Cpl. Mark Rosario, a CLC-23 air conditioning mechanic. “Even when my skills are not needed I can find a way to help out everyone else.”
The Marines not only need to be able to maintain the machines, but be able to operate them as well. Having a variety of experience and skills allows them to complete the preventative maintenance that needs to be done aboard Fightertown.
“We have a large variety of operational fields that come together to maintain a vast amount of equipment,” Hemenway said. “We have operators, maintainers and technicians who are qualified to operate and repair the many types of vehicles that are used day-to-day.”
Having a team so willing to help each other offers a lot of opportunities to cross train and ensure the Roughnecks have a team ready for any issue that may arise. Everyday offers a host of new challenges and lessons for Marines.
“I have had the opportunity to work on all types of vehicles, not just heavy equipment, since reporting in,” said Pfc. Jesse Funderburg, a CLC-23 heavy equipment operator. “I always like to help out and by doing so, I have had a lot of chances to learn from the Marines willing to teach me.
“Having this type of opportunity widens my knowledge and sets up a good foundation for a mechanical career.”
Although small, CLC-23 makes up for their size with their training, spirit and camaraderie. They may not be as large as other units, but they are capable of doing what is necessary to keep the cogs of the Air Station turning.
“We have operators to move the vehicles and heavy equipment and maintainers to fix them,” said Hemenway. “We are here to support MWSS-273, but we have our own equipment that we keep maintained and prepared to answer the needs of the Air Station whenever we may be needed.”
The Roughnecks fight the good fight each week to keep machines moving and ultimately supporting the F/A-18 Hornets and the sound of freedom.