Friday, December 21, 2007

A Day in My Life

The alarm clock starts going off around 1745. The snooze lasts for four and half minutes and the beeping varies each time. At 1800, the duty turns on my lights and makes sure I am awake. I roll out of bed with my Green Bay Packer shorts and find my slippers and a sweatshirt. I gather my hygiene bag, a towel and some fresh skivies and trek to the showers. The shower trailer is about forty yards from the building that I sleep in. It is usually dark when going from here to there, the path is mostly muscle memory now.

By 1815 I am done shaving, brushing my teeth, and showering and am headed back to dress for the day. Since it has been steadily getting colder I have been donning more clothing. I put these "polypro" bottoms on that are similar to long johns but not as warm but are always itchy. Then socks, a sweatshirt, a fleece, then my MARPAT (MARine Disruptive PATtern) trousers and blouse. I will pack up my backpack that is also MARPAT with whatever extra items I feel I might need, this may include an outer fleece garment, camera, goggles, neck gator (like ninja mask) fleece cap, inner gloves, outer gloves, scarf, and any food items that I may want to snack on throughout the day. I put on my interceptor vest, my M9 holster with magazine pouches( at the same time I will add my M9, pistol, and attach it via my lanyard to my interceptor vest), then Gortex MARPAT jacket and my Kevlar helmet.

On my way out of the building, at about 1835, I inform the duty with my identification number and where I am going. No names are ever spoken. I use a bicycle to ride to work everyday so I will also put a reflective belt on my body as well as my backpack. I use about two kilometers of road and about two and half kilometers of rough terrain to get to the compound where I work. There is at least one gate in which I pass that requires positive identification before proceeding. Total distance is a little less than three miles.

I arrive about 1845 at the mobile facility unit that I work in. It is a complex configuration of metal boxes attached together. We work in the same type of buildings in the rear(garrison). For the next fifteen to thirty minutes I will receive a pass down of the days events and any pending issues that are still in play. The computer I use is a hot seat computer, meaning it is used all day long by one Marine, then when the shift ends the next Marine from the next shift sits down and uses all night.

My job is to ensure overall coordination and control of workload priorities for the Maintenance Department. I maintain a close working relationship with all supported squadrons assigned to MAG-29 (Marine Air Group) and I resolve problems affecting aircraft readiness. I monitor and expedite inductions and repairs of aircraft components and resolve inventory problems with the Supply Department.

For the next several hours, I ensure the priorities of the squadron are actively being entertained. I "visit" every maintenance division within MALS-29's (Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron)compound. I have found from experience that being present in ones workspace is better than calling or email. I will visit, in not in any particular order(keeps them guessing), GSE(Ground Support Equipment) which has tow tractors, stands, cranes and other like items; AVI (Avionics) which works on electronic and electrical components of aircraft such as radios, radar, weapons controls; A/F (Airframes) this division has three sides, hydraulics, metal, and tires( I don't know why it is split that way); and PP(Power Plants) all engines for aircraft and items that have bearings that don't already go to one of the other divisions.

Sometime at about 2300ish, I coordinate efforts to bring approximately 15 vats of food to the compound and chow is served from the Marines of one of the divisions to the night crew Marines and Sailors. Most eat this meal here at the compound. Myself and a few other bike, some walk, and the few that have vehicles will drive to the DFAC (Dining Facility) and the closest one open is about six kilometers or about three miles from the compound. Before entering any place where the military gathers at there is positive identifications and weapons clearing.

The last half the night is similar to the first half as far the duties and responsibilities. Everyday the computer systems shut down for about half hour. Once every week the power goes down for some darn reason or another. This happened yesterday the temperature in the mobile facility dropped 22 degrees in first fifteen minutes. Luckily, the power was only off for about forty minutes. Close to the end of my shift, I produce reports of the progress of the squadron and update any pending issues. I consult with a representative of the Supply Department about lag times for consumable parts and update statuses as needed.

By approximately 0650 the day shift will be here and I give my pass down and hand over the day's reports. My computer is hot seated and I don all my gear for a bike ride back to the building where I live.

Once arriving back to my living quarters I inform the duty of my identification number and he will log me in. At this point if I need to do any tasks such as pick up or drop off my laundry and the laundry facilities, go to the PX (Post Exchange) for any items of need, or go to the Post Office to mail items off. I usually read for about an hour or so and by 1000 I am ready to sleep. On random days during random times during the day the "Big Voice" which is an early warning device with loud speakers on it, will go off and sometimes repeat instructions. It is called a "Big Voice" for a reason. I try to get about six hours of good solid sleep, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.