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High Maintenance Vehicles Run by High Performance Marines

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Adapting and overcoming obstacles is something every Marine faces at some point during his service, but the Assault Breacher Vehicle platoon, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, does this on a regular basis.

Adapting and overcoming obstacles is something every Marine faces at some point during his service, but the Assault Breacher Vehicle platoon, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, does this on a regular basis.

“These vehicles require a lot of time and effort to keep them running,” said Sgt. Ricky Johnson, a 24-year-old ABV maintainer from Ganado, Ariz. “There has been a lot of adapting and overcoming throughout this deployment when it comes to vehicle maintenance.”

The ABV has become an extremely useful tool in the battle against improvised explosive devices. Equipped with a plow on the front end, the ABV can dig a lane for follow-on forces to proceed to their objective safely. It is also capable of firing mine-clearing line charges in areas where the threat of IEDs is high.

With the only five ABVs in Afghanistan, these Marines must keep their vehicles constantly prepped and ready to assist other units requiring route clearance assistance.

During a past mission, there was a platoon of Marines who were unable to receive resupply convoys at their patrol base due to enemy fighters constantly emplacing IEDs. The ABV platoon rolled in to help.

“We went in, cleared a route they could use, and now they are able to get resupplied,” said Lance Cpl. Jady Hubbard, a 27-year-old ABV operator from Trussville, Ala. “Those guys thanked us from the bottom of their hearts for what we did. It felt good knowing we were able to make a difference for them.”

There are Marines specified as ABV mechanics in the platoon to make necessary repairs. However, operators have also had to learn how to repair their own vehicles due to the amount of work required to maintain the vehicles properly.

“Since there is so much work to be done you have to lend a hand, and, in doing so, you learn how to fix the vehicles yourself,” said Cpl. James Gunsolus, a 25-year-old ABV operator from Bakersfield, Calif. “We try to help the mechanics out as much as we can.”

“We’ve gotten a lot faster at doing maintenance,” Hubbard added. “Some things that used to take us a day, we can get done in a few hours, especially when we are doing a mission; it gives you a real sense of urgency.”

ABV operators are constantly on the move offering their valuable skills to coalition forces throughout southern Afghanistan.

“We are able to do the same things that route clearance platoons do, except we can do it safer,” said 26-year-old Cpl. Kevin Wallin, a combat engineer from Philadelphia. “We can open up routes that friendly forces haven’t been able to use.”

Article by Cpl. John McCall, 2nd Marine Division