A Beaufort Marine's expertise and hard work in keeping the troops moving while stationed in Afghanistan has earned him the 2012 Motor Transport Technician of the Year Award.
Cpl. Lucas Matte of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 was picked from among 15,000 transportation technicians for the award from the Marine Corps Motor Transport Association, according to the Corps. The honor was presented Friday at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, where Matte is stationed.
"(Matte) is a very proficient Marine and very humble about it," motor transport company commander Capt. Park Paige said. "He was instrumental in multiple operations in Afghanistan."
Matte's mechanical expertise originated from harsher times, before he enlisted in 2010.
"My dad left us when I was younger; it was just my mom and brother when I was growing up," said the 21-year-old Marine from Church Point, La. "I needed to get to school and work after school to keep bills paid and food on the table, so I had to keep my truck running because it was too far away to walk."
Matte taught himself engine repair and other skills.
"Where I come from, either you fix it yourself, or it stays broke," he said. "I learned by taking stuff apart and putting it back together, everything from fixing houses to fixing engines and fixing cars."
"There's no truck that he can't fix," said Master Sgt. Aaron Vescovi, MWSS-273's motor transport maintenance chief. "Anything that has an engine, he will go out there and work on it. Any job you give him, he will get done."
While deployed to Afghanistan, Matte's know-how helped maintain a motor-transport readiness above 93 percent.
"It was high tempo; the squadron was going out on convoys all the time," said Vescovi. "He easily put in 19-hour days and wouldn't leave until somebody told him to go home. Even then, he would still be reluctant to leave."
This report is excerpted from an article by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.