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Marines from Marine Corps Air Station, Expeditionary Airfields, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 put down new AM-2 matting on the Delta taxiway at Quantico’s Marine Corps Air Facility on Aug. 26.

Photo by John Hollis

Cherry Point Marines repair MCAF taxiway with new AM-2 matting

8 Sep 2014 | John Hollis

Laying down AM-2 aluminum matting on a runway is akin to putting together a puzzle, only a lot harder and more time-intensive.

 

This quickly became obvious to Lance Cpl. Cupid Baker, Expeditionary Airfields, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274. He was one of the 19 Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. and some 50 others from Quantico’s Marine Corps Air Facility tasked to repair Delta taxiway with new AM-2 matting.

 

“I had never done it before, so I thought it was like putting Lego pieces together,” he said. “I figured I’d find out what I needed to do, pop [the bad pieces] out and put another piece in.”

 

If only it were that easy replacing the 72 bad pieces of the aluminum rectangles that can be as large as 24 square feet and weigh as much as 140 pounds each. The matting, which is a key part of the EAFs mobile system that allows the U.S. military to quickly project airpower worldwide, is assembled in brickwork pattern to form runways, taxiways, parking and other areas required for aircraft operations and maintenance.

 

Edge clamps, cruciform stakes and earth anchors are used to secure the AM-2 matting to the ground once properly laid out. Laying down the 146,000 square feet of matting takes about a week.

“It’s hard work,” said Lance Cpl. Anderson Schmittou, Expeditionary Airfields, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, “but it’s worth it to make it right.”

 

The matting is typically replaced roughly every five years, said Warrant Officer James Garrison, officer in charge, Expeditionary Airfields, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274. A recent inspection revealed that MCAF’s Delta taxiway was in immediate need of new matting. Much like a car tire that goes bad and needs replacement, small spikes can extend out from worn down matting, damaging aircraft tires and putting them at additional risk during takeoffs and landings.

 

Garrison lauded his Marines for their efforts in getting the project done.

 

“These Marines put out,” he said. “We go to bed sore and tired.”


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