MARINE CORPS LOGISTIC BASE ALBANY, GA -- Twelve base civilian automotive workers recently received awards for completing the Ford Motor Company's fleet, on-site, technical training program here.
Bob Westcock, Ford Motor Company compressed natural gas instructor, conducted the 16 hours of training Nov. 26 and 27 at the Garrison Mobile Equipment building here. The training included hands on experience and classroom instruction.
The base's motor vehicle fleet includes 24 bi-fuel and compressed natural gas trucks. The recent training provided local automotive workers with Ford warranty work certification.
Employees must be certified by Ford Motor Company to work on compressed natural gas Ford vehicles, said Mike Elliott, head of the GME Branch.
"They [automotive employees here] were instructed on how to use diagnostic and electronic equipment to check and repair the compressed natural gas systems on ford trucks," said Elliott.
Having personnel certified to work on these vehicles will save a lot of time, said Elliott.
Previously, the vehicles were sent to a local Ford dealer to be serviced, said Elliott. Days, and sometimes weeks, were required to get trucks serviced, causing someone to be with out a vehicle.
"The vehicle used to be brought to a Ford dealer, then it would sit there until they had time to work on it then it would be sent back here," said Elliott.
"MCLB Albany is the first Department of Defense installation to perform warranty work for a major motor company, such as Ford," said Elliott.
An executive order requires 75 percent of the automotive fleet to be bi-fuel or compressed natural gas vehicles by the year 2005, said Elliott.
The recent training will prove to be very useful in the years to come when the base will have more compressed natural gas vehicles, said Elliott.
Using compressed natural gas vehicles reduces the cost of fuel, said Elliott. On average, natural gas cost one-third less than conventional fuels. Compressed natural gas also burns a lot cleaner and does not pollute the air as much as other fuels do. Natural gas emits 53 percent less pollutants than conventional fuel.
"The mechanics here are really dedicated to their work and are outstanding employees, "said Elliott.
Chuck D. Morton, auto mechanic here, feels this training is a big accomplishment for him and fellow mechanics.
"This training makes us more valuable employees to the base," said Morton. "Seeing how we are the only DoD people doing this [being certified to work on Ford compressed gas vehicles] in this part of the country, I think we have made a pretty big accomplishment."