News: Combat Logistics Regiment 1 supports Exercise Desert Scimitar
Story by Cpl. Laura Gauna
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, returned home after supporting one of the unit’s largest exercises at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., from April 29 through May 5.
The exercise, Desert Scimitar 13, was a division-sized exercise that brought together approximately 4,500 Marines from 1st Marine Division and 1st MLG for a week of live-fire combat maneuvers at the Combat Center’s Rainbow Canyon Training Area.
“First Marine Division is practicing their infantry skills and utilization of all assets,” said Capt. Sarah Culbertson, the assistant operations officer with CLR-1, 1st MLG. “I am amazed at the amount of work these Marines put in.”
This is the first time in ten years the exercise was performed. This year’s scenario was designed for Marines to help a simulated nation retain its sovereignty from its northern communist counterpart.
“We are practicing offensive and defensive operations against a simulated enemy to practice skill sets that can be later used in combat,” added Culbertson, a native of Chicago. “As CLR-1, we are ensuring 1st Marine Division has the logistical combat service support they need to continue their fight.”
The unit was there to provide both general and direct support to 1st Marine Division’s live-fire exercise with all subordinate elements including Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 5 and 7. They provided the division with ammunition, food, water, fuel, transportation, security and communications.
The exercise assessed, validated and improved CLR-1’s ability to provide support to 1st Marine Division and strengthened the CLR’s expeditionary core capabilities.
“This training was designed to meet mission essential tasks,” added Culbertson. “It ensured we were rehearsing and reinforcing those tasks that we will use in combat, so the first time we encounter a scenario such as this isn’t in combat.”
One of the largest resources CLR-1 provided was maintaining a logistical combat operations center, where they commanded and controlled the battlefield to ensure each unit was properly taken care of.
“Logistics drives operations,” said Staff Sgt. Julio Sandoval, a training chief with CLR-1, 1st MLG, and a native of Sabinal, Texas. “It is such an important piece of the puzzle. It’s the heartbeat of operations.”
Upon arrival, Marines immediately set up tents, communications, power generators, showers, laundry facilities, a field kitchen, computer systems, satellites and antennas.
Often working 20-hour days, Marines ensured all logistical needs were met. They trekked several miles through the desert sun, providing thousands of gallons of water and fuel a day to fellow Marines.
“Twentynine Palms is one of the most realistic training areas we have,” said Culbertson. “It really gives the Marines a better understanding of what we would need to do in a real-life scenario.”
As the exercise came to an end, its success was clear.
“The involvement of the Marines and of the leadership was key to our success,” said Sandoval. “Everyone was heavily engaged in this exercise and that involvement motivated each and every Marine to push hard. It was a real accomplishment in my eyes.”