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Maintenance demands in war zones pull MCA workers to overseas duty

By Art Powell | | March 26, 2009

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Seventeen employees from Maintenance Center Albany departed here March 16 to serve in overseas assignments in support of the Global War on Terror.

Ten of the group were civilian-Marines, seven were contractors and all will perform maintenance duties at their destinations.

“I’m anticipating getting over there and getting the job done and I’m also apprehensive about what to expect when I do get over there,” said Timothy Mark Sherrill, as he waited for the bus carrying the employees to depart for the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Sherrill, a civilian-Marine making his first overseas tour, said he appreciated the support he and other deploying personnel received prior to leaving.

“Everybody has been very supportive. They’ve given us everything we need for this deployment. No stone has been left unturned, from the paperwork to support for the wives and families. It’s all here,” he added.

Another departing employee, going on his second overseas tour, knew better what to expect than did the first-timers.

“I want to accomplish everything I did the first time,” said Lovie Walton. “It isn’t that bad. All I want to do is go over there and help the Marines, Army and Navy.”

David Kennedy, a veteran of seven years of civil service, isn’t a newcomer to overseas duty. Kennedy having served 12 years in the Army, including tours of duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and later in Bosnia.

“This deployment will probably be the same as they were the other times. But now I’m a civilian and I won’t have a weapon. It’s going to be the same kind of work I did at Ft. Knox, Ky., on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, just turning wrenches on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles in a hotter environment,” he said.

The March 16 deployment at MCA was a repeat of earlier deployments and a glimpse of future deployments to support the GWOT.

“It never gets routine. It’s a new experience for some of them. About half of this group has already been more than once,” said Col. Daniel J. Gillan, commander, MCA. “You can feel the enthusiasm from the families, but it’s bittersweet because they don’t want to see their loved ones leave.”

Gillan said the employees wanted to do something for the Marine Corps and to help military personnel deployed overseas.

Before the group boarded the bus to depart, Gillan thanked them “for the hard work you’ll be doing overseas to support those hard-charging Marines and soldiers who are in harm’s way, who you will be directly supporting through your work on the vehicles they depend on.”

Some of the group will be deployed for six months, others for a total of a year.


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