News: Marine Prepositioning Force: from ship to shore part 2
Story by Lance Cpl. Shawn Valosin
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series covering Marine Prepositioning Forces. Part 2 covers the role of MPF members ashore.
MARINE CORPS SUPPORT FACILITY BLOUNT ISLAND, Fla. – Once cargo leaves the Beach Operations Group it is taken to a staging area where members of the Arrival and Assembly Operations Element, AAOE, can process and make necessary repairs to equipment prior to ground forces receiving it.
This small group, comprised of service members with a menagerie of specialties, acted as the AAOE during a Marine Prepositioning Exercise here May 22-30. They relied heavily on the sailors who were loading equipment from the United States Naval Ship Dahl, which was anchored 10 miles offshore. Rough seas caused setbacks for the Marines and sailors involved in the exercise, as it was unsafe to load cargo onto lighterage vessels during swells.
“It’s been a great experience to work with service members from other military occupational specialties. We all got to learn about each other’s job and worked together to accomplish the [Marine Prepositioning Force] mission,” said Sgt. Agustin Molinanavarro, a platoon sergeant with Supply Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, who acted as the supply chief for the AAOE. “Participants took on tasks that they normally wouldn’t handle. By using that motivation and courage, we were able to accomplish the mission.”
Many service members who took part in the exercise did not have previous experience with MPF operations, so they weren’t aware of the policies or procedures that go along with maritime prepositioning. Some members also took on new roles while involved with the exercise. One such individual was Navy Hospital Corpsman Alex Peeler with 2nd Medical battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
“I had never heard of MPF, but I knew that it would be a great opportunity to learn and gain experience in another field,” said Peeler.
Throughout the exercise, Peeler performed his duties as a corpsman, as well as assisting with ground-guiding vehicles, helping out with communications, and conducting vehicle inspections.
II Marine Expeditionary Force is slated to perform a larger MPF exercise in conjunction with the Navy next year at Blount Island.
“I would love to come back out next year for the exercise,” said Peeler. “This was a great experience. By coming back for the larger operation I can learn even more, and become a subject matter expert.”