CAMP KINSER, Okinawa — A stint of day-and-night work toward helping keep Marines safer in combat was among accomplishments noted when the Okinawa-based 3rd Materiel Readiness Battalion became one of six units from across the armed forces to receive the 2006 Secretary of Defense Field Level Maintenance Award, according to a Marine Corps news release Friday.

The III Marine Expeditionary Force unit was the only Marine Corps unit so recognized, Chief Warrant Officer Jim Varner, the battalion’s materiel readiness officer, said Thursday.

The 1,200-member battalion provided supply and maintenance support to 20 exercises in 15 countries and deployed almost 800 Marines, Varner said. Among its achievements was installing about 190 Marine armor kits onto Humvees and logistic vehicle systems in a 30-day period, he said.

The company worked shifts day and night to get the armor kits installed, said Cpl. Daniel Garza, with the battalion’s Motor Transportation Maintenance Company.

The 3rd MRB accomplishments came despite the personnel drain of the global war on terror, Garza said. “Usually, our company had about 125 Marines, but we were doing the same job with about 30 to 40 due to deployments,” he said.

Also, 3rd MRB initiatives saved the Marine Corps more than $6 million, according to the battalion’s award nomination package, and the unit’s Marines contributed more than 90,000 volunteer hours to local communities.

The awards will be presented to senior logistics flag officers from each service at the 2006 Defense Department Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition in October in Reno, Nev.

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