Watercraft engineers are Soldiers who make it happen

| February 12, 2016 | 0 Comments
Spc. Jose Hernandez, a watercraft engineer with 163rd Transportation Detachment, 545th Transportation Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, checks the fuel line valves in the engine room of Logistical Support Vessel-2, the CW3 Harold C. Clinger, February 6 off the shore of Kahului, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich, 8th TSC Public Affairs/RELEASED)

Spc. Jose Hernandez, a watercraft engineer with 163rd Transportation Detachment, 545th Transportation Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, checks the fuel line valves in the engine room of Logistical Support Vessel-2, the CW3 Harold C. Clinger, Feb. 6, off the shore of Maui.

 

Story and photos by Sgt. Jon Heinrich
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

KAHULUI — Commonly seen aboard military vessels are the bridge and deck crews, who may be thought of as the operators who keep it moving. In reality, they are the engineers behind the scenes who maintain the vessel and allow it to function and fulfill its mission.

For the watercraft engineers of Logistical Support Vessel-2, the CW3 Harold C. Clinger, maintaining an LSV is a never-ending job with many challenges and rewards.

“Being an engineer is great and very rewarding,” said Staff Sgt. David Compton, a junior marine engineer with 605th Transportation Detachment, 545th Trans. Company, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “If it weren’t for us (engineers), none of these missions would happen.”

Compton said that the vessel requires constant monitoring while underway since the engines, generators and pipes could fail at anytime.

“We’ll think everything is going great, running fine, and then all of a sudden something will break, and we have to fix it,” Compton said.

As the squad leader of the vessel’s engineers, Compton is in charge of seven Soldiers, one of whom, Spc. Feider Pena, has only been doing this job for two years.

The is moved to avert potential danger during the tsunami, March 10, following a massive earthquake in Japan. (Spc. Tiffany Dusterhoft | 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs)

LSV2 CW2 Harold C. Clinger

“I feel that with the boat, you’ll get more experience than with a vehicle,” Pena said. “You’ll get more systems to work on.”

Pena, a watercraft engineer with 605th Trans. Det., said he took on his military occupational specialty because he likes working with his hands and fixing things.

“While underway, we’re in charge of taking readings on all systems, auxiliary and propulsion, to see if anything’s wrong,” Pena said. “If there is, we try to fix it. If we can’t fix it, we’ll bring it up to other qualified personnel.”

In addition to maintaining and repairing equipment on the vessel, the engineers train regularly on controlling the boat via a makeshift bridge in the engine room, should the need arise.

In a crew of only 12 Soldiers comprised of chief warrant officers, noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Soldiers, the engineers must work in shifts in order to maintain the vessel properly.

“When something breaks and we’re able to react quickly, fix it and keep the boat moving, then it’s a good feeling. It’s only 12 of us on the boat who keep it running, and we can do it all on our own without outside help,” Compton said.

Overall, both engineers agree they love their job, even if for different reasons.

While Pena said he likes being able to visit new places within the Pacific theater, Compton said he enjoys the self-reward of an accomplished mission.

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