Machinist delivers goods, thrives under pressure
By Sgt. Alexis R. Mulero
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | August 09, 2002
MCB HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
Amphibious Assault Vehicles played a major role during two amphibious landing evolutions performed by Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 3 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise July 14 and 18.
But the performance of the AAVs could have turned out somewhat different during both evolutions if it weren't for the endless hours of dedication from a machinist with maintenance platoon, Combat Service Support Detachment 77, attached to SPMAGTF-3.
While at Pohakuloa Training Area, Lance Cpl. Michael Parke fabricated six thread inserts needed to repair a tow hitch on an AAV.
The work was accomplished one day prior to the SPMAGTF-3 boarding the ship.
"There was a time limit on when the AAV was supposed to splash and with a missing hitch it wouldn't have been safe to go in the water therefore causing a strain on the training evolutions," said Parke.
It took seven hours for Parke to design and make the inserts and more importantly to fabricate it from a $15 piece of steel.
"The hardest part of machining is when you are forced to rush," said the Rehoboth, Del., native. "It's easy to make a quick mistake that could ruin your work."
Fortunately for SPMAGTF-3, they had a machinist with the focus and ability of Parke.
"It's the nonstop efforts of junior Marines like Lance Corporal Parke that the Marine Corps envisions for a better future," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Celestino M. Perales, maintenance platoon commander, CSSD-77. "This Marine is a hard worker and has unlimited potential."