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U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Kevin L. Shearer
Marine Re-engineers Old Radios, Saves Money
By Cpl. Josh Cox,
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., Sept. 12, 2006 — Communication is a tool of warfare, and the Marine Corps relies on this tool every day to take the fight to the enemy.

In the past few years, there has been a demand for specific types of radios in combat zones. When the Department of Defense initially struggled to attain new radios, the process was easier said than done.

During 2001, brand new radio communication gear with up-to-date configurations took a long time to acquire, and was extremely costly – approximately $44,000 per radio. Contractors bidding on the update also requested to acquire used components from obsolete radios to renovate the new radio gear.

One Marine did something any other good Marine would do: he suggested a solution to this dilemma, set his plan in motion and got the job done.

During 2003, Gunnery Sgt. Kevin L. Shearer, currently assigned to Marine Air Control Group 28, answered the call of duty while stationed at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., revitalizing obsolete radios for the new era.

"This radio system had already exceeded its exit date," said Shearer. "So, we were supporting this radio system five years beyond its life expectancy."

Shearer dismantled older model radios, and researched the various parts it took to upgrade the radios to the current configuration, said Shirley P. Stiles, project director and Beneficial Suggestions Program administrator, Business Performance Assessment and Integration Office, Marine Corps Logistics Command, MCLB Albany, Ga.

Shearer attributes his success to the continual support he received from his co-workers, and the never ending assistance given by the personnel at the Maintenance Center. With their help, he was able to fix the problem, but thanks to his hard efforts he was rewarded approximately $18,000 by the Department of Defense.

Shearer, who has been in the Marine Corps communication field since 1987, worked with Maintenance Center Albany to prototype his solution, she said.

"He analyzed circuitry, and determined the key to the solution was a new circuit card for the amplifier component of the radio sets," explained Stiles.

Stiles said Shearer then identified a source for the amplifier and wrote the statement of work for the Maintenance Center to upgrade the old radios in stock to the current configuration, which could be used in-theater.

Gunnery Sgt. Kevin L. Shearer is commended by Col. Timothy C. Hanifen, assistant wing commander, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, for his beneficial suggestion to the Marine Corps, Aug. 30. Shearer, currently assigned to Marine Air Control Group 28, answered the call of duty while stationed at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., revitalizing obsolete radios for the new era. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Josh Cox
His career expertise in communications and helpful proposal to the Beneficial Suggestion Program boosted the reconstruction of the prototype radios, since the newer radios were backordered and couldn’t be supplied promptly.

"All the contractors came back with high bids," said Shearer. "I took some old pieces of equipment and built a prototype, with the help of the Maintenance Center. I sent it to some Marines in the field to test it, it worked fine."

Shearer and the Maintenance Center initially developed approximately 34 radios after testing, and were able to get the re-engineered gear to warriors in the field.

Although brand new radios have finally made it to the field since 2003, Shearer ’s idea helped the military during the time of need.

According to Shearer, the prototype radios and their components have not been completely eliminated, and older radios in stock are still being recycled and reconfigured at the Maintenance Center for further use.

Shearer went above and beyond his normal job expectancy, staying aware of the needs of Marines working diligently to find a solution, said Stiles.

"The enhanced communications he produced could save lives in combat situations," she explained.

"I don’t feel that I did anything more than any other Marine would have done," said Shearer. "When we see problems in the Marine Corps today, our mission as Marines is to not question it, but to just fix it."
Last Updated:
09/13/2006, Eastern Daylight Time
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