< Back

Roles in the Corps: AAVs

Sallee: My name is Ron Sallee, Sergeant, USMC, Crew Chief, Amphibious Assault Vehicle. We get the infantry to the fight, we take them where they need to go, we get them as close as possible and provide them cover fire while they assault the objective. You sit in the back and make sure the vehicle is not acting up. If something goes wrong, you can go to the turret and let that crew chief know. After that, you move up to a driver. You basically use your skills to find _____ when needed, put yourself in the best position for that crew chief to put fires on target. The responsibilities of a crew chief is letting your vehicle driver know where to go and what to do and make those tactical decisions on when to take rounds down range. Driving the AAV is outstanding. You learn how to drive through any terrain from ship to shore in the ocean while the waves are splashing your face. It's a thrill. Day to day, while we're on the field, we'll come down and prep the vehicles, do a pre-ops PMCS which is _____ maintenance checks and services and make sure the vehicle is 100 percent at all times ready to go. We'll do what we call weapons drills and that is just practice putting weapons in the turret as fast as possible, as precise as possible. We'll practice water operations every day. The readiness of the Marine Corps has been instilled since day one. If officer in command said right now we've got to go, it would take five minutes for us to get down there and load the vehicles up and get our gear on, get comm checks, be in our stations ready to splash with the infantry loaded up and we're ready. The readiness in Iraq was very important because we were in a new assault vehicle platoon, but we were tasked out to be infantry as well. We'd load our own personal guys in the back of our vehicles, take them to an objective and clear that objective of was needed. I was on a mission one time where I was doing a normal patrol, when we had a couple of Iraqis wave us down saying that they were receiving gunfire from insurgents, so we had to break away from our patrol and go provide them security and search for those insurgents and try to help those people out. It makes me feel good helping people. You know, they need us and it lets us know that we're needed for them, not just to be there in a fight, but to help people out when they need it. Being a Marine, it's like being one of the knights at the roundtable. You're the most elite fighting force in the world. You know, first to fight, like they say. Always ready, always faithful. It's pride.