It’s a famous saying across the Navy and the Corps that “gear adrift is a gift” ― a warning to Marines and sailors to secure their equipment and personal belongings or it could be lost or stolen.
But according to a new message disseminated across the Marine Corps Thursday, gear adrift is a potentially life-ending calamity waiting to happen.
While adrift gear isn’t a gift, the Corps still wants to impart the same lesson learned: for Marines to secure all their trash.
The Corps is now looking to establish a policy for securing gear and equipment on tactical vehicles and aircraft.
“There have been a number of mishaps where unsecured gear and equipment caused injury or may have prevented the safe egress of Marines operating in vehicles and aircraft,” the MARADMIN reads.
One of those incidents was an MV-22 crash off the coast of Australia on Aug. 5, 2017.
While the cause of the crash was likely the result of rotor blade downwash, according to the investigation, loose gear and equipment created added obstacles and hindrances to Marines trying to escape the aircraft.
About nine minutes was all it took for the Osprey to sink in the ocean after it struck the side of the amphibious transport dock Green Bay during a ship-to-shore training evolution.
But unsecured equipment in the tilt rotor was violently thrown about the aircraft as it crashed, creating hazardous projectiles and impeding Marines from rapidly egressing from the aircraft.
Three Marines lost their lives in that crash.
“Marines at all levels, both in the operating forces and supporting establishments, will take a holistic approach to secure personnel, gear, and equipment in all tactical conveyances,” the MARADMIN reads.
The Corps plans to carry out a review of its aircraft and tactical vehicles to evaluate what kinds of equipment need to or will be stored in these vehicles, and what space is available to store that equipment.
The review was described as “overdue” as vehicles and aircraft have been updated over the years to include jammers, armor, communications devices and blue force trackers. These modernization efforts have reduced space to store equipment.
“Solutions may be as simple as a cargo net, tie down points, or a modification for additional storage containers to the platform,” the MARADMIN states.
“Commanders must consider and plan for proper storage and securing of any item transported via tactical conveyance,” the MARADMIN reads.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.