JABAL PETRA, Jordan -- Lance Cpl. Bryan Planty spent his teenage years fixing his family’s car. Now he’s fixing tactical vehicles on Jordan’s rugged terrain.
The 21-year-old Watkins Glen, N.Y., native is a motor transportation mechanic with Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who works to ensure tactical vehicles stay up and running during Eager Lion 12, one of the largest annual exercises in the Central Command area of operations.
The rocks, mountains, heat and coarse sand of Jordan can cause problems for even the toughest military vehicles used by the Marines, keeping Planty and his fellow mechanics constantly busy with everything from oil changes to rebuilding engines.
“It’s more likely trucks will have problems in areas like this because of the rugged terrain and how much power they have to use,” he said. “As long as we can keep dirt from getting inside the engines, we can fix them anywhere.”
Planty enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 2009 to continue his family’s tradition of military service and also stand out from them.
“My grandpa, my dad and my uncle all enlisted into the Army,” he said. “I wanted to be a trend setter and break the mold.”
He said he chose his military occupational specialty because of a passion for tinkering with cars he developed from fixing his family’s car and his own 1969 Camaro.
“I figured I wanted to do something I liked,” he said. “I used to work on my car and my family’s car and I like doing mechanic work outside.
Lately his interests and his military training have been put to the test after the Marines disembarked from the amphibious assault ships USS Iwo Jima and USS Gunston Hall to prepare for the exercise.
Planty, along with other mechanics, replaced the engine of a Humvee that broke down because of overheating in Jordan, May 6, and have been busy ever since quickly fixing a variety of minor mechanical problems with the vehicles. Their efforts have directly allowed training operations to continue.
“Without us, the convoy that went out this morning wouldn’t have left,” he said in reference to maintenance they performed on vehicles in a convoy the night prior.
Eager Lion 12 is the second major exercise for the 24th MEU and Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group after deploying in March to serve as a forward-deployed crisis response force.
The deployment is also Planty’s first.
“I am looking forward to doing my job and seeing new spots in the world,” he said.