News: Mission Readiness: CLR-25 conducts field exercise
Story by Lance Cpl. Shawn Valosin
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group took to the field for an exercise in mission readiness.
From Sept. 6 to 13, members of CLR-25 performed their everyday duties in a tactical environment.
The exercise tested the command and control abilities of the regiment, stressing the communications and data sections, while forcing the Marines to conduct their primary general support mission to II MEF away from their convenient garrison facilities.
They had to react to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, as well as mass casualty response drills while running convoy operations. This was the first time the regiment conducted a field exercise of this magnitude.
“It’s one thing to excel at your job in a garrison environment, but we’re United States Marines,” said Col. Terrence A. O’Connell, the commanding officer of CLR-25. “We have to be able to do our jobs in an austere, deployed operational environment …you can’t train for that from garrison facilities.”
The main body of the regiment set up Camp Mercado in a field location with three supporting sites aboard Camp Lejeune. Vehicles and equipment scheduled for repairs in garrison were sent to the field locations, and Marines made use of tools available to them, like they would do on an actual deployment.
Elements from outside of CLR-25 participated in the field exercise as well, as Marines with 8th Engineer Support Battalion brought in and purified water from a nearby inlet. They dispersed the water throughout the camp to be used for hydration, cooking, showering and laundry.
“Solid training events like these always cause the best to come out of the best … that’s invaluable when discerning the character of those you lead,” said Lt. Col. Craig C. Clemans, the commanding officer of 2nd Maintenance Battalion.
Service members involved in the exercise faced many challenges, including the setup of communications networks within and outside their individual field locations, and finding terrain that could be helpful for mission accomplishment. These challenges allowed leaders and junior Marines to learn where their strengths and weaknesses were, and gave them an opportunity to become stronger.
“We’re getting efficient out here at what we do so we’re going to continue to ratchet up the pressure, and I’m confident the Marines and sailors here are going to perform,” said Lt. Col. Jesse A. Kemp, the commanding officer of 2nd Supply Battalion, CLR-25.
The time in the field was also used to meet annual training requirements for individual Marine occupational specialties. Marines with Ordnance Maintenance Company, 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 2nd MLG practiced vehicle recovery scenarios with multiple vehicles, dismantled and performed maintenance on an artillery piece and navigated terrain with heavy equipment.
“We have experienced Marines teaching the guys who are fresh out of the school house to make sure they’re all worldwide deployable,” said Capt. Douglas Mayorga, the company commander of Ordnance Maint. Co.
On Sept.12, a segment of 2nd Supply Bn., which was at one of the satellite locations, displaced and re-deployed to a new location. This exercise reinforced the concept of being expeditionary.
“We could go to battle tomorrow and we need to be able to set this up and tear it down,” said Cpl. Scott Sensanbaugher, an ammo technician with 2nd Supply Battalion who worked in and taught junior Marines how to run a combat operations center.
Marines with Food Service Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd MLG were able to use a new expandable field kitchen, which could accommodate 800 people at full capacity. Hot breakfast and dinner was served every day to Marines and sailors at the exercise.
“It took us three days to get everything set up, and we had to face cleanliness and timing challenges, but we were able to accomplish all of our goals and get hot food to the service members in a timely manner,” said Cpl. Patrick Bonelli, a food service specialist with Food Service Co.
An exercise of this magnitude takes a lot of effort from multiple units and months of preparation. Even when everyone seems to be on the same page, once service members get to the field and start hitting rough patches in execution, views can change and friction can appear.
“We expected some friction to occur coming out here, but everyone has performed exceptionally well together,” said Capt. Daniel W. Fetsch, the current operations officer with CLR-25. “The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Integrated Systems Training Center aboard Camp Johnson was a huge asset with getting Marines trained effectively so they can operate in combat operations centers.”