News: CLB-13 conducts humanitarian exercise
Story by Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 13, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, wrapped up a weeklong humanitarian exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 14.
Training scenarios consisted of communicative role-playing, a mass-casualty evacuation and a noncombatant evacuation operation. The training was conducted to respond to natural disasters and provide vital humanitarian relief.
CLB-13’s mission provides a full range of expeditionary combat service support in direct support to the ground combat element, aviation combat element, or command element of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. This support enables the accomplishment of all assigned missions across a wide spectrum of conventional and selected maritime special operations, according to the unit’s mission statement.
“This week is a training exercise that is designed to enhance our expertise in the special missions that come along with our assignment to the 13th MEU, and those are humanitarian assistance and disaster response, evacuation control center for noncombatant evacuation operations and a mass-casualty response,” said Lt. Col. George Markert, commanding officer of CLB-13.
The exercise was a coordinated effort between CLB-13, the Special Operations Training Group and United States Agency for Internal Development representatives. During the initial days of training, Marines participated in classroom discussions designed to enhance effective communication between Marines and those in need of humanitarian assistance in a time of crisis.
“We discussed a lot of different things about communicating the intent of why we are here, coordinating with the people, making sure that we are accomplishing our mission, but also making sure that we are sensitive to the needs of the local population,” Markert said.
SOTG provided the Marines with a mock-town training environment and role-players to carry out simulated scenarios authentic to what Marines are likely to encounter during a humanitarian operation.
Sgt. James Zuniga, machine gunner with SOTG, said setting up an area of operation should be a steady, gradual process because moving too much too fast can compromise the security of the humanitarian effort. In addition, Marines were reminded that security plays a vital role in the success the mission.
“The first four days of training are generally infantry tactics,” Zuniga said. “We teach them a little bit about security and a little bit about the weapons systems. We basically come out here and facilitate the training.”
During the final days of the exercise, Marines applied what they learned to execute their mission independent of instructors. Marines will be tested during their upcoming deployment with the 13th MEU.