MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Exercise Support Division was named the 2005 Logistics Unit of the Year by the Marine Corps Ground Logistics Awards Board with an award presented by the Combat Center’s commanding general, Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, at the unit’s headquarters Aug. 29.
"Every great leader has a great logistician behind him," said Stone to all the Marines and Department of Defense civilian employees at the awards ceremony, as he presented the award to ESD’s officer-in-charge, Lt. Col. Geoffery W. Stokes. "I feel like a great leader because of this unit."
With 190 Marines and civilian employees, ESD managed the issue, receipting, maintenance and repair of more than 1,735 combat ready reportable items and 7,213 other accountable items, worth $286 million, such as communications equipment, humvees and ordnance materials. That ensured 100 percent mission completion for 36 Mojave Viper cycles that involved more than 50,000 Marines in 2005, according to the awards citation.
ESD dedicated their mission to enhancing the quality and quantity of equipment provided to the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group and operating forces which participated in the Mojave Viper pre-deployment training program at the Combat Center.
Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in 2003, the pre-deployment tempo increased dramatically and equipment used continuously began to wear down. Equipment was issued and reissued to one battalion after another, not allowing time for required maintenance. ESD formed contact teams to go to Camp Wilson and perform limited technical inspections on the equipment to determine what items were repairable in the field, and what was needed to be recycled to ESD for repair. This enabled training to continue at the rate needed.
Since its establishment in 1995, the unit has never failed to meet mission, said Terry Vetsch, electronics mechanic, who has been part of the unit since 1996.
"We started out as one lot on the street with only 90 humvees," he explained. "But we’ve always used what we got to make mission and training was never affected."
Now, ESD has more than 570 humvees of all variations at their facility.
ESD maintains and distributes communications equipment, motor transport assets, ordnance materials and engineering needs to units training in Mojave Viper, said Vetsch.
"Basically, anything the units need, we maintain and provide," he said.
Members of the unit were thankful for the recognition after all the years ESD has been stepping up to the plate to support pre-deployment training at any rate the Corps demands.
"It’s not every day we get a pat on the back," said Cpl. Dustin Vollmer. "I’m glad we’re being recognized for the work we do.
"It raises morale all around and gives us more pride in doing our everyday jobs," he added.