When Marines conduct convoy operations their equipment must be dependable for the mission’s success. One Marine who does his part in keeping the convoys running is Cpl. Jesse M. Sheriff, motor transportation mechanic attached to Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“I follow convoys with my contact truck just in case their vehicles break down,” said Sheriff, from Coggon, Iowa. “My main priority is to make sure the vehicles are up for the mission.”
During Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Exercise (MEUEX) near Camp Lemonier Djibouti, May 19-26, ship-to-shore operations were conducted to strengthen Navy and Marine Corps amphibious capabilities in unfamiliar terrain and included service members from USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45) and 13th MEU.
Sheriff said on this mission he was in charge of maintaining three companies worth of humvees, which equals about 40-to-50 vehicles under his charge.
“On our first day of operations we conducted a road march to break in our vehicles—the good thing was that we had Sheriff and his team out here from maintenance,” said Staff Sgt. Steven E. Williams, from Alton, Ill., platoon sergeant for Weapons Company. “They know exactly what’s wrong with them. It’s hard to tell if there is something wrong with our vehicles if they are just sitting on the ship.”
Sheriff got his first experiences with fixing cars at a young age.
“When I joined I wanted to be a mechanic, I have been working on cars ever since I could remember. My dad had me working with him on cars and my grandpa was also the same way,” said Sheriff. “We would always buy junk cars, fix them up and sell them, it was something that I got into and enjoyed.”
Sheriff says getting dirty is the best part of his job. He is not the type of person to just sit around and wait for something to go wrong with a truck. He likes to stay active and prevent things before they become a real problem.
“I like to be able to meet the Marines, whose vehicles I work on, to help them understand the importance of preventative maintenance and answer any questions they might have,” said Sheriff. “I guess you could say I’m like the neutral Marine that everybody comes to when they need help.”