Auto Skills Center offers space and education - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Auto Skills Center offers space and education

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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:41 am

At first glance one might consider the Auto Skills Center (ASC) on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune a typical hobby shop. With open bays, lifts and a selection of tools for Marines and others with base access the center is, indeed, a place for hobbyists to work on their vehicles. However to the center’s manager Mike Bray, the Birch St. location is more a place for education than a typical garage.

“Look at it like a school,” Bray said. “We give people a space to work and we guide them along if they hit a tricky part. If you have a project at school, the teacher doesn’t do it for you. They guide you. If people leave here and they know how to fix a problem then we did our job… If they break down on the side of the road, they can handle it without calling us up.”

The ASC provides services like state inspections, engine diagnostics, tire rotations and many others for individuals seeking a fix to their mechanical woes. Additionally, it serves as a community resource for those who want to learn automotive repair skills.

Due to rules on base regarding housing, service members and their families are restricted from using their domiciles or garages to work on vehicles. The ASC provides a space for both experienced mechanics and newcomers to the craft.

He and the rest of the staff handle some of the more delicate procedures in addition to technician specific tools for certain jobs.

“Techs have to operate stuff like the tire machines and AC services. There are some tools we have to use because they’re expensive or fragile,” said Automotive Technician Matthew Seale.

Tools that are usable for customers are entirely free, however. Additionally, the ASC has a fully functioning machine shop.

“We have people building racing engines in here,” Bray said.

The ASC also serves to empower individuals who are a little shaky in their automotive skills.

“I’ve had colonels come in here and say that they have guys who were maybe a little off to the side or hesitant doing stuff like this before when their Marines are working on projects and tell me the nervous ones are stepping up to help with stuff like that… we have guys who like to just come in here to talk too. The gearheads. They love the camaraderie and just talking about the stuff they love,” Bray said.

Other features the shop offers are overnight storage, full body work and part delivery without a service charge.

“This facility can do more than any of the others in the Marine Corps,” Bray said. “We have no reason to oversell you. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need and then we’re going to help you get it done.”

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