Henderson Hall Motor Transport keeps Headquarters Marine Corps moving
March 8, 2013
How do senior Marines and other military leadership get from one place to another in a timely manner, navigating the heavy traffic, which is a challenge almost any day throughout the National Capital Region?
Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall Motor Transport Platoon ensures transportation needs are fulfilled.
Master Sgt. William Dixon, Motor Transport officer at H&S Bn, HQMC Henderson Hall, sets the bar high for his Marines. In fact, he said the word no is not part of the vocabulary there. Dixon, a motor transport chief, has filled the rank of a Marine captain's position as the MT officer since October 2011. He works with 24 Marine transport operators at Motor Transport, located in Bldg. 28 on the Henderson Hall portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
"We're transporters, not drivers. Anyone can drive, but not everyone can transport. We're transporters of the headquarters element. This is what we do. We fulfill the mission of providing efficient, economical and safe motor transport vehicle services to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps throughout the National Capital Region," said Dixon. "With this transportation branch here being the flagpole of the showpiece for the Marine Corps, we set the tone for other transportation pools out there. We give professional, courteous, curbside honors to everyone who enters our vehicles. You will see these Marines crisp and sharp at all times and that's what Marines do."
Dixon credited Henderson Hall Commanding Officer Col. Ira M. Cheatham and Battalion Sgt. Maj. Craig D. Cressman as leaders who "gave us the tools to evaluate how we were doing business, how we're doing business now and how we'll do business in the future.
"With changes in leadership came fresh ideas… We changed our standard operating procedure… adding to how we do business and we changed the way vehicles are requested," he said. "All these supporting units didn't know Headquarters Marine Corps had a motor pool."
Dixon feels the MT battalion has made an effort to support transport requests from outside the National Capital Region by attempting to link up requests with other supporting agencies. "We normally provide transport within a 100-mile radius." Any requests for vehicles beyond this distance must have approval from the transportation branch at Quantico, he said.
"We support Army units, Navy units and we've supported Air Force units with vehicle support," said Dixon. "We provide medical transport for Marines going to Wounded Warrior Regiments, Marines throughout the National Capital Region going for professional military education duties. We support every three-star Marine Corps general at the Pentagon on a daily basis," said Dixon.
Transportation support is also available to the Naval Support Facility in Arlington, Va.; Marine Barracks 8th and I, Washington, D.C.; the Young Marines program; Barcroft Elementary School; JROTC and NROTC competitions and other authorized community relations events. The Marines also provide supply and administrative runs for Headquarters Marine Corps.
With a total allowance of 39 personnel, Motor T is currently operating with 24 Marines. In addition to Dixon, this includes a motor transport chief, maintenance chief, platoon sergeant, dispatcher and assistant, quality control noncommissioned officer in charge and assistant and transporters. "We're at a gap, but Marines do what we do. We take what we have, and we make mission," said Dixon.
"We have 41 pieces of motor transport equipment. Out of those, 27 are motor transport vehicles. We own tractors and have small scooters that assist with taking administrative runs to the battalion," said Dixon. Other vehicles in their motor pool include a five-ton truck; a three-ton box truck; 44-passenger buses; 12-passenger vans and cargo vans, sedans and minivans. Some of the vehicles are loaned from the transportation branch at Marine Base Quantico.
Sgt. Rodney Sanders, quality control noncommissioned officer in charge said he's tasked with ensuring the vehicles are maintained properly. "We make sure the [preventive] maintenance is done correctly -- from tire pressure and fluids to a clean vehicle, including the interior," he said. "My team ensures there are no problems with the vehicle for the entire duration it is checked out until its return."
Keeping the vehicles clean for their passengers is a small challenge, since there is no wash rack at Motor Transportation. "The Marines get out there as a team, using elbow grease to clean the vehicles," said Dixon.
"Here at Henderson Hall we get to do things Marines don't do in the fleet. We work with the leadership -- generals who are in charge of us, the sergeant major of the Marine Corps," said Sgt. Pedro Guerrero, chief dispatcher. "Working with top leadership here is something we wouldn't get to do elsewhere."
"Being able to provide efficient, professional, dignified service to support the commandant's vision is what I like most about this job," said Dixon. "We keep Headquarters moving … it's a sense of pride."