Exercise Balikatan


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Exercise Balikatan
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CLB-15 conducts pre-deployment training with Special Operations Training Group

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Offload showcases Marine logistics across Asia-Pacific


Story by Lance Cpl. Joey Holeman

Offload showcases Marine logistics across Asia-Pacific SUBIC BAY, Philippines – Logistics Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan, conducted a selective offload of vehicles and equipment from the USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo April 24 at Subic Bay, Philippines, in support of Exercise Balikatan 2014.

The offload of essential engineer equipment and vehicles was in preparation for BK-14, which took place May 5-16. Balikatan is an annual Philippines-U.S. military bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement; this marked the 30th iteration of exercise.

The Marines with 3rd Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted the offload which consisted of an Offload Preparation Party and Landing Force Support Party working side-by-side, late into the night, to complete the objective.

“The Offload Preparation Party’s purpose is to either meet the ship where it is docked at, or pick it up in route where it is going and to be able to offload it,” said Staff Sgt. Jason F. Small, the engineer equipment representative for the OPP. “They go in the (ship) and prep all the equipment, so as soon as the ship comes in they can drop the ramp and start driving equipment off.”

The OPP received the gear following Exercise Freedom Banner in the Republic of Korea, setting it up to be offloaded as quickly as possible once docked in the Philippines.

As soon as the OPP took the gear off of the ship they transferred it over to the LFSP Marines, where they took full accountability of gear and vehicles used during BK-14.

“Once we get our gear coming off the ship we double check the serial number, scan it, radio to where it needs to go and then get it to its corresponding lot,” said Lance Cpl. Dustin A. Borlaug, a landing support specialist, with the LFSP. “We basically get the gear off, take accountability of it and get it where it needs to go as fast as possible.”

The Marines began the offloading efforts around 7 p.m. and worked through the night. Despite the summer heat and low lighting conditions on the port, the team was able to execute their mission safely and proficiently within six hours’ time.

“I am really proud of my Marines,” said Small. “They were able to perform in some adverse conditions, pull together and expediently complete the task at hand.”

Flexible planning is a key component to many successful operations, so Maintenance Bn. took advantage of their time before hand.

“We have been planning since September,” said Capt. Luis O. Izquierdo the battalion operations officer. “We planned it 100 times over. We planned it so many times and even then we had to adjust it on the fly. The port had shrunk when we were out there (from) the space that we thought we had, which was fine. We took what we had before and adjusted, rehearsed and executed.”

The battalion fully supported the Marine Corps’ efforts during BK-14. As the Logistics Combat Element, 3rd Maintenance Bn. supported the Ground Combat Element and Air Combat Element of the exercise.

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