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One of DoDís Smartest Corrosion Programs is Driven by the Marine Team

Popular with Marines, the Maintenance Program is Worth Emulating

Although it is the Defense Department's smallest armed force—at about 234,000 active duty and reserve troops—the U.S. Marine Corps is larger than the entire British Army. To experts who preserve the ground equipment used by Marine forces, fighting corrosion can be uniquely challenging.

Row of MTVRs at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton  
Pictured is a row of MTVRs (Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California. The MTVR and other ground vehicles used by Marines are better preserved under the Marine Corps' highly structured corrosion prevention program. Photo courtesy of the Marine Corps CPAC (Corrosion Prevention and Control) office.  

While it is true that Marines operate vehicles and weapon systems similar to the Army, they practice amphibious warfare in much harsher saltwater environments. Indeed, the Marine Corps' four major bases are located on the ocean in North Carolina, California, Hawaii, and Japan.

Before experts began carrying out a Congressional mandate to establish new corrosion prevention policies throughout DoD, the Marine Corps began ramping up an under-funded corrosion prevention program that began more than 20 years ago.

In December 2002, Richard Kelly, the Marine Corps Deputy Commandant, circulated a memo that ordered officials to establish an effective corrosion prevention program for all tactical ground equipment. His aim—to reduce maintenance requirements and costs through "the development of corrosion prevention and control products, materials, technologies, and processes."

Kelly's memo said the Marine Corps was experiencing a decrease in readiness because equipment was deteriorating, a situation he said was "affecting the safety of our Marines."

The Beginning—Assessing Equipment and Maintenance Needs

In 2004 the Marine Corps benefited from Congressional funding that allowed officials to raise its corrosion prevention program to a new level. That same year, the Marine Corps' Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPAC) Program Office developed a corrosion category code rating system of "one" through "five." The rating system was designed to identify the level of repair required to return an asset to category 1 "operational ready status" with no corrosion. After the rating system was put in place, the CPAC program manager used contracted services to conduct an assessment of all Marine Corps ground combat and support equipment. The assessment provided a base line of the condition and corrosion severity of every tactical vehicle and generator not being used in the southwest Asia theatre of operations.

A corrosion service team member applies corrosion prevention compounds to the interior of an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV). Photo courtesy of the Marine Corps CPAC Office.  

Marine Corps tactical equipment includes Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles—armored trucks resistant to mines and ambush; Logistics Vehicle Systems (LVSs) used primarily by combat service support motor transport units to haul supplies in large quantities from beachheads, ports, railheads or airfields to combat service support areas; HMMWVs (pronounced like "HUMVEES")—the all-terrain 2 1/2–ton cargo and troop carriers; and Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVRs)—seven-ton, six-wheel, all-terrain vehicles.

During this original assessment, all category "five" equipment was considered unsafe and removed from service. From that point on, the severity and extent of corrosion repair under the Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPAC) Office is based on this rating system. In turn, the system helps the office decide if the equipment needs maintenance and repairs at the organizational or unit level; the intermediate level; or the depot level. The assessment developed further into a Corrosion Prevention and Control Program Management Tool used to track the status of each asset throughout the life cycle.

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Table of Contents

Volume 4, Number 3
Fall 2008

Top Stories

•One of DoDís Smartest Corrosion Programs is Driven by the Marine Team
Read More . . .

• Meet the Director of the DoD Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office
Read More . . .

• Dement Follows Reed as Air Force Lead at Corrosion Forums
Read More . . .

• Metallurgist Retires from Army Research Laboratory
Read More . . .

Featured Projects

• New Coatings Provide Protection of Cold War-Era Aircraft into Mid-21st Century
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• Upgraded B-52 is Still on the Cutting Edge
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• Keeping The Patriot Vigilant
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• The Patriot Counters Missiles During Operation Iraqi Freedom
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• Navy Turns To The Sun to Protect Pipelines at Guantanamo Bay
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Inside DoD

• Army Aviation and Missile Command Creates a Team to Fight Corrosion
Read More . . .

• DoD Awards New Funding for Training
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• Matzdorf Lauded as a Top Navy Engineer
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• The History Channel Airs Program on Corrosion
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• Visit the CorrDefense Web Site
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