U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific


U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Repro Vans see action for first time in 25 years during OIF II

By Lance Cpl. Jared Plotts | | March 26, 2004

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP SMITH, Hawaii -- Marines from Marine Forces Pacific's combat camera unit recently renovated and shipped five reproduction vans that have been lying dormant for nearly 25 years. The vans were shipped to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II on St. Patrick's Day. 

Five Marines from here will meet up with the vans, or "green machines," in Iraq and use them during a six-month deployment.

"We should get there about two weeks before the vans do," said Sgt. Chad Keihl, photographer, MARFORPAC combat camera. "Once they come in, it should take us another two weeks to set them up."

For two weeks, Marines worked 14-18 hour days coordinating with other units to replace wiring, air conditioning, and camera equipment.

"It was pretty grueling," Keihl laughed and continued, "it was pretty much like putting together all new office spaces."

Even though Marines worked extended hours to ready the vans, they say it's well worth it.

"They are going to make our job a lot easier. For the first time we'll have our own space out there.  We won't have to use other units equipment or get in their way," he said.

Other units, including 1st Marine Division use similar transportation vans. Combat Camera's vans will stay in Iraq for 14 months. At which point they'll return to Camp Smith.

"We hope to use them on other deployments as well," Kiehl added.

The bus size vans look much like migrant giant green boxes, much like a boxcar a young boy would craft in his father's garage, but these are no toys.

The vans weigh close to 4,000 pounds each and will supply vital media for I MEF including reproduction, video and combat camera assets in Iraq.