Quiet professionals enable warfighters worldwide at JB MDL

Eric Lambert, an automotive mechanic with the Army Support Activity Logistics Readiness Center, conducts an inspection of a vehicle in an engineering bay at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. The LRC's mechanics and machinists are qualified to maintain and repair over 60 different vehicles ranging from light equipment to heavy equipment.

Eric Lambert, an automotive mechanic with the Army Support Activity Logistics Readiness Center, conducts an inspection of a vehicle in an engineering bay at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. The LRC's mechanics and machinists are qualified to maintain and repair over 60 different vehicles ranging from light equipment to heavy equipment.

Machinists and automotive mechanics at the Army Support Activity Logistics Readiness Center escort a vehicle in an engineering bay at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. The 38 active engineering bays see vehicles ranging from small all-terrain-vehicles from the 621st Contingency Response Wing to large vehicles able to carry a 60-ton tank.

Machinists and automotive mechanics at the Army Support Activity Logistics Readiness Center escort a vehicle in an engineering bay at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, June 7, 2017. The 38 active engineering bays see vehicles ranging from small all-terrain-vehicles from the 621st Contingency Response Wing to large vehicles able to carry a 60-ton tank.

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N. J. -- Through the front office door and down the hall, the room opens into an enormous bay. The mechanics turn wrenches and chatter. 

The Army Support Activity Logistics Readiness Center here is ensures the equipment warfighters depend on is reliable and ready for action at a moment’s notice. The LRC specialists handle electronics and radios, all manner of transportation and small-arms weapon systems.

“Our job is to enable the soldier to shoot, move and communicate,” said Thomas Fiori, ASA LRC chief of supply maintenance division. “We take care of all the weapons, vehicles and communication. Everything a warfighter needs to perform their mission in the field.”

The 38 active engineering bays are lined with a zoo of military vehicles ranging from small vehicles like single seat all-terrain vehicles to behemoths capable of hauling and supporting 60-ton tanks. The qualified mechanics climb over and slide underneath the assortment of vehicles as they perform thorough inspections, ensuring the integrity of all manner of transportation.

“We’re qualified to repair over 60 different type of vehicles - I would say 60 is a low estimate,” said Art Jennings, ASA LRC maintenance operations manager. “There’s a robust amount of equipment available to our mechanics; we’re adequately supplied to accomplish our mission.”

Across base, behind a razor-wire fence, the weapon technicians’ hands appear to be permanently stained black with gunpowder, soot and gun oil. The LRC inspects tens of thousands of small-arms weapons every year. When a unit deploys their weapons need to work. Understanding the importance of a functional weapon, the LRC has had zero discrepancies in its weapons maintenance section, ever.

“We make sure the equipment is ready for our servicemembers, so when they hit the ground, there is no question of the reliability of the equipment,” said Fiori. “We don’t pull the trigger for them, but we do everything up to that point to make sure their equipment is ready to go.”

Blanketing the Joint Base, the LRC has stepped up its role to assist all five branches of the Department of Defense. Traditionally, the LRC was responsible for gearing up Army National Guardsman and Reservists prior to deployment. As times changed, their mission adapted to support units throughout all of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

“When I first got here seven years ago we had this sign in the hall that had been around for almost 100 years,” said Jennings. “I reworded the sign because, to me - it was old mentality. It read ‘We Support the Army’. We’re a Joint Base, we support more than the Army. Our mission is bigger than that now.

We’re global; our job is to support the warfighter, period. It doesn’t matter what color of green or blue the uniform is, we support them.”

In the event of future military conflicts, the LRC is capable of spooling up over 100 employees, activating additional engineering bays and ensuring deployment readiness on a much larger scale.

“It’s an extremely important job; it’s not always glamorous,” said Fiori. “But, these guys do an exceptional job every day. We’re here not only to support the soldier, but any warfighter - that’s what we do.”