News: CLB-6 hones convoy operations
Story by Cpl. Paul Peterson
The desert seems different from the inside of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle – air-conditioned, protected from the sun, armor plating on all sides, and the comforting presence of a mounted automatic weapon.
The Marines inside, however, know appearances can be deceiving … even dangerous.
“In peace time, the easy things are easy, and the hard things are hard,” said Master Sgt. John C. Lynch, one of the instructors for Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s motorized vehicle operator training here, May 13. “In combat, the hard things become easy, and the easy things become hard.”
Lynch then explained the techniques used by Marines to overcome dangerous conditions they might undergo in the conduct of convoy operations.
The key to success is communication, he added. Simple tasks such as coordinating movement inside an armored vehicle with its narrow windows, cramped crew compartment, and reliance on radios will always be a challenge.
“IEDs are not a new threat,” said Lynch, tracing the weapon as far back as the Vietnam War. “We’re getting better in advances in technology, and we’re getting better at detecting these things visually.”
Success depends on constant vigilance from drivers, gunners, and other Marines in a convoy, especially when combined with detection devices that expand on servicemembers’ natural senses, continued Lynch.
Close communication helps create flexibility, but a thorough understanding of unit procedures prevents confusion in the moments following an IED detonation.
Carefully following doctrine contributes to the protection of the local population from threats. Safeguarding the local population in places such as Afghanistan, where many of the inhabitants are illiterate and unable to speak English, requires servicemembers to use recognizable warning signs, Lynch said.
”You never know whose going to have to do it,” said Sgt. Cooper W. Hampton, one of the course instructors.
Hampton stressed the importance of developing procedures that best suit unit-specific needs. He also taught the Marines to conduct operations according to North Atlantic Treaty Organization standards, which allows any NATO personnel to work hand-in-hand with the Marines should the need arise.