Deployed Marine helps save Corps time, money

19 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Samantha H. Arrington

Time is money. One Marine in Afghanistan is saving the U.S. government both.

The Navy and Marine Corps rely on a database to track maintenance requirements for their aircraft. But the database was becoming filled with unnecessary entries, causing it to malfunction. So, Headquarters Marine Corps sent a request to each aviation squadron in the Corps to delete the unnecessary records.

There was a problem however. There was no easy way to search for the unnecessary records – creating a slow and laborious process for the Marines tasked with cleaning up the database.

Staff Sgt. Dakin T. Werneburg of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, created a program to make it easier for the sailors and Marines to maintain the system.  

“All I really did was create an advanced search tool that isolated these untracked components in the database to quickly identify where they were,” explained Werneburg, the squadron’s maintenance administration chief, and a native of Troy N.Y. “It quickly helped my Marines delete these from the database, rather than spending time searching for them individually.”

With the help of his search tool, Werneburg and the Marines of HMLA-269 were able to complete the request in about 45 days. The task was originally projected to take about a year.

 “I just saw a way to do a job better and faster to help my Marines.  In the end, it seems to have saved the Marine Corps money,” said Werneburg, who is deployed with his squadron from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. “I look at it as a return on an investment because I learned all I know from the Marine Corps and I am just paying it forward.”

Master Gunnery Sgt. Lee Voss, the maintenance administration chief for Marine aviation at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, said Werneburg’s initiative will allow Marines more time to work on the actual aircraft.

“It took Marines away from the primary focus of their job, which is assisting pilots and other Marines,” said Voss. “Staff Sgt. Werneburg's program saved the Marine Corps untold money by reducing man-hours. I commend him for his dedication and commitment to the aircraft maintenance administration community and Marine aviation as a whole.”

Werneburg said he has extensive training in programming, so it took him only about three days to make the program – a project he undertook while deployed with his squadron to Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan.

“It is nothing compared to larger things Marines are doing out on the battlefield every day,” added Werneberg. “I, just like any Marine, want to do the best I can at the job the Marine Corps assigns me to do and make it better for the next Marine.”

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