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MARFORRES MMT leader cited with DoD award

By Art Powell | | November 12, 2009

The Department of Defense’s Joint Depot Maintenance award has been presented to Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Kratz, engineer maintenance equipment chief, Program Management Branch, Marine Corps Logistics Command.

He was cited for his service as team lead on LOGCOM’s Marine Forces Reserve Mobile Maintenance Team beginning in 2008.

“The MARFORRES Mobile Maintenance Team was organized in March of 2008 and went on the road to Florida and worked at four reserve units there,” he explained. “It worked out so well that we were asked to visit two more units in Florida and service their ground systems while we were there.”

The team conducted the two-month road trip to Florida units as a proof of principle and the results led to funding. The team went back on the road July 4, 2008, but Kratz was pulled off the team in February 2009 for an overseas deployment to Kuwait and Afghanistan.

As team lead for the mobile maintenance team, Kratz was responsible for ensuring the 15-man team had the supplies and support they needed to perform maintenance at the reserve units.

“Reserve units only have a limited number of training days per year. They have to concentrate on training and don’t have time or manpower for maintenance,” said Kratz. “When we called the unit and said we’re on the way, they knew who we were and were glad to see us.”

His team had two tractor-trailer vehicles with tools and supplies, vans for personnel and a lube vehicle to service vehicles. They carried their own supply of petroleum, oils and lubricants.

“We were basically invisible to the unit. We had everything we needed,” said the 15-year Marine Corps veteran.

Kratz was preparing to return from his Afghanistan deployment when he received word he had won the award.

“It was incredible, I thought it was great.” he said.

The Mobile Maintenance Team concept has matured and now there are three such units working in major geographic areas of the nation.

“We had never taken teams like this out before,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric F. Gilmer, Marine liaison officer and project coordinator, Maintenance Center Albany. “Gunny Kratz had to take care of everything from hotel reservations to coordination with the unit you’re about to roll up on and MARFORRES had to be taken care of.”

Gilmer said that Kratz operated with no direct supervision while he led the team and did an ‘outstanding’ job.

“He got the big wheel spinning to support MARFORRES and the result is that other teams are on the road today,” Gilmer explained.

There are now five teams on the road, three performing maintenance and two teams which visit reserve units to perform maintenance on small arms.

“There was a lot of coordinating that Gunnery Sergeant Kratz had to do to make the program successful,” Gilmer added. “All of the other teams fed off of his lessons-learned and what’s he’s done to get us to where we are today with the teams."