USS GREEN BAY – Maintaining and operating 15 26-ton amphibious assault vehicles is no easy task, but the Marines of Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, India Co., Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit work hard to accomplish that mission everyday.
In order to bring the Marines of India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU to shore, the company’s AAV Platoon puts in countless hours toward achieving readiness with their AAVs.
“For every hour of operation on an AAV, we perform three hours of maintenance,” said Cpl. Evan L. Watson, crew chief, AAV Platoon, India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “After five days in Timor-Leste, we have a lot of work to do,” added the 27-year-old native of West Hills, Calif.
The platoon’s daily routine typically consists of starting at 7:30 a.m., and identifying any discrepancies with each AAV. Each vehicle typically has one crew chief and two crewmen to conduct the primary echelons of maintenance.
If there are no discrepancies, each AAV has a 27-page preventative maintenance checks and services book that requires the crewmen to inspect every bolt, wire, cable and hose to ensure the AAV operates properly. The completion of the book typically takes each crew a month to complete on average.
“The maintenance we conduct is key to ensure the company’s missions are able to be executed safely and effectively every time,” said Cpl. Stuart C. Stroman, crew chief, AAV Platoon, India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “There is a lot of inspecting done, as well as lubricating and busting rust,” added the 21-year-old native of Bloomington, Minn.
In addition to the maintenance involved with the actual vehicle, each AAV has a .50 caliber heavy machine gun and a MK19 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
“Weapons maintenance is a big part of our daily routine,” said Lance Cpl. Danny L. Daniels, AAV crewman, AAV Platoon, India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “Every piece of equipment on the vehicle is important and requires some of our time,” added the 23-year-old native of Walnut Bend, Texas.
For the next levels of echelon maintenance, the platoon has one mechanic to oversee four AAVs.
“I’m more of a behind the scenes guy,” said Cpl. Harold E. Campo, AAV mechanic, AAV Platoon, India Co., BLT 3/5, 15th MEU. “Myself and the other mechanics cover issues that involve the engine, transmission, cooling system and electrical system to name a few. The crewmen are a huge help in accomplishing the mission of maintenance,” added the 25-year-old native of Ridgefield, N.J.
The platoon works hard, but they play hard too. Driving the AAVs is an experience everyone enjoys.
“Driving the AAVs is my favorite part of my job,” said Daniels. “Imagine off-roading in a 26-ton vehicle that can go on land and in the ocean. It’s a blast.”
All in all, the maintenance is the entire platoon’s mission.
“It takes a group effort to get everything done,” said Watson. “YATYAS!”, the AAV community chant, he added with pride.
India Co. is one of three rifle companies that make up BLT 3/5, the 15th MEU’s ground combat element.
The 15th MEU is currently embarked as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, while they serve as the nation's rapid-response sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force for Western Pacific Deployment 12-02.