Photo Information

Cpl. Thomas A. Trinosky Jr., a combat engineer with Engineer Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 25, and Senior Airman Michael Chinchilla, an engineering assistant with 482nd Civil Engineering Squadron, Air Force Reserve, secure a piece of drywall during Innovative Readiness Training Dry Tortugas at Dry Tortugas National Park, Fla., Aug. 15, 2016. IRT Dry Tortugas is an Air Force Reserve-led project to provide construction services at the request of the National Park Service. During this year’s iteration, the Marines and Airmen worked together to renovate the crew quarters of Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ian Leones/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Ian Leones

4th MLG Marines work with Airmen to renovate historic fort

17 Aug 2016 | Sgt. Ian Leones Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Marines from 6th Engineer Support Battalion and Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, are participating in Innovative Readiness Training Dry Tortugas, Aug. 1 – 29, 2016.

            The Marines joined members of the Air Force Reserve’s 482nd Civil Engineering Squadron and 301st CES in a project to renovate the crew quarters at Fort Jefferson, which is located inside of the park.

            According to the National Park Service, Fort Jefferson was built to protect one of the most strategic deep-water anchorages in North America, but was later abandoned by the U.S. Army in 1874. The fort now serves as a popular tourist destination as well as a place to house research groups from universities across the country coming to study marine ecosystems in the 46-square-mile Dry Tortugas Research Natural Area.

The renovation of the crew quarters will help sustain larger groups working at the park.

            “This year the National Park Service is having us renovate the crew quarters so larger groups can work in the park,” said Chief Master Sgt. David S. Hanck, the project manager for IRT Dry Tortugas with the 482nd CES. “Since we began this project we have worked on various construction projects at the request of the NPS.”

            The involvement of the 482nd CES with the park dates back to the 1970s, but was discontinued in 2004.

            “We stopped in 2004, but started back up again in 2010,” Hanck said. “When we started up again, we learned we had to do it as an IRT project.”

            The Innovative Readiness Training program began in 1992 when the Department of Defense searched for innovative programs to serve American communities in need and provide realistic military training benefits. The three primary areas of emphasis were health care, infrastructure support and youth training areas.  This year marks the first joint service and joint unit iteration of the Dry Tortugas project.

            “We saw that the Air Force Reserve had been the lead on this project and we wanted to support them,” said Master Sgt. Marcelino Marquez, IRT planner for 4th MLG.

            In order for Marine Forces Reserve to determine whether or not it will support an IRT, planners must determine if the project meets a mission essential task list, a list of training requirements the Marine Corps must meet to accomplish the overall organizational mission.

            “The scope of the project met our METLs, so 6th ESB went ahead and put in an application to support the IRT,” Marquez said. “The joint aspect of the project is important because eventually, when we are in a combat zone, we may have to work together. It is better that we are doing it now than on a deployment.”

            One of the project’s most challenging aspects of this project is working on a historical site.

            “The structure work is a little different here,” Marquez said. “It is a historical site, so the engineers can’t nail anything into the existing bricks. The engineers have to understand that they are preserving the historical significance of the site.”

            Taking precautions to preserve the fort can be challenging for those working on the project. Fortunately, many of the service members here were handpicked for their civilian construction expertise.

            “I’m a carpenter, so I do a lot of this type of work in the civilian world,” said Cpl.  Thomas A. Trinosky Jr., a combat engineer with Engineer Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 25, CLR 45. “I’m currently doing a couple of remodels on my home, so I can turn around and jump right into this.”

            With the breadth of experience working on the project, the Marines and Airmen also have an opportunity to learn from each other.

            "I've never worked with drywall before,” said Senior Airman Michael Chinchilla, an engineering assistant with the 482nd CES and a full-time police officer in Miami. “"For me the hardest thing about this project is learning the different jobs that need to be done. I'm lucky I came with a group of guys who are very experienced at what they do. They are very patient with showing me what to do, so I am taking away a lot from here.”

            Even with differences in operational styles, the service members are able to work together effectively to get the job done.

            “When [Chinchilla] is having a hard time with the work, he is not afraid to ask for help,” Trinosky said. “That's really important in the construction industry. If you do it right the first time, it makes it a lot easier to get the mission accomplished.”

            While building working relationships with another branch during the IRT, the Reserve Marines are able to keep their skills relevant and remain ready to respond to any future contingency.

More Media