By: Ed Creamer
I read an interesting article about a couple in Redondo Beach who are building a house out of metal shipping containers. The very same 8X8X40 vans Avionics personnel have worked in since the early 1960’s. Well, this “container” house was going to end up with 3,500 sqft. of those vans. And you didn’t believe me when I said Avionics was a step ahead of the rest of the world.
Well, it seems the good folks at HQMC Travel & Vacation Consultants, Inc. read the same articles and have decided there is merit to this fine idea. Only, they plan to take it a step further. Every young Marine finishing Avionics school will now be issued their very own van to hold and to keep. Then, when the Marine gets married, the vans could then serve as both quarters and work area. Sure would beat having to drive in rush hour traffic wouldn’t it boys and girls?
Now, does your brain-housing group start to see the possibilities in this? Why the Washington Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will just slobber all over itself thinking of how they will no longer have to provide travel pay to Avionics personnel. Nor will they have to pay a quarters allowance once they’re married. Then when the Marines’ favorite HQMC Travel & Vacation Consulting Monitor wants them to go overseas they can just load them up on any old container ship going in their direction and off they go. Railroads can haul them from place to place inside CONUS. Any rug rats or privately owned conveyances they own can be hauled with them in what could be used as connecting vans at their new duty station.
I know what you’re thinking and it’s all ready been thought of. Now, why do you think they have a section at HQMC totally devoted to planning which they call, are you ready for this, Planners. Well, they do and they did. The vans will come fully equipped with a full set of mess gear, sleeping bags, twin size air mattress (standard size if married), and a fully calibrated set of test equipment. Now, don’t you feel bad thinking they’d forgotten something?
Of course there are a few additional items that will need to be taken care of. Any vehicles the Marine owns will need to have fording and low IR capability in order to be combat zone qualified. Boilerplate is optional. Spouses will have to be both rifle and pistol qualified and can expect to go to cold weather training (for assignment in Iraq) and jungle E&E training for Northern European assignments. Rug rats are exempt until age 12.
As you can see, Avionics has once again led the aviation maintenance community in it’s never ending struggle to drag the rest of Maintenance into the future. Constantly having to be the point of the terrible swift sword is the price one has to pay to preserve freedom and our American way of life.