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    Combat Logistics Battalion 3 gears down for redeployment in southern Afghanistan

    Combat Logistics Battalion 3 redeploys

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Ronald Stauffer | Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles operated by 2nd Platoon, Motor Transportation...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Ronald Stauffer 

    Marine Forces Central Command

    CAMP BARBER, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan — The time has come for the Marines and Sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 3 to pack up their belongings and prepare for their journey home from the sands of southern Afghanistan.

    Some will return to Okinawa, Japan, and other to Hawaii, but they will all have memories of Camp Barber, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    Since their arrival in November 2008, more than 300 Marines and sailors worked night and day to provide direct logistical support to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), as well as general support to Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force — Afghanistan and sustained no fatalities during the entire deployment.

    "The team did very well," said Lt. Col. Michael Jernigan, CLB-3's commanding officer. "They fought well above their weight class."

    Jernigan said the battalion was meant to be a bridge for the Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

    "The Marine Corps wanted to get a [MEB] in here and they put together the Special Purpose [Marine Air Ground Task Force] of 2,000 people on short notice to hold the gap," Jernigan said. "Our job was to get out of town on short notice and hold the line, and we did that."

    From the ground to the air, CLB-3 supplied U.S. forces with essential gear, provisions and rations, as well as mechanics, maintenance and engineering capabilities.

    Venturing throughout southern Afghanistan, Motor Transportation Co. conducted 51 combat logistic patrols, driving more than 7,300 miles and delivering more than 11 million pounds of cargo.

    Along the way, Motor Transportation Co. took part in several operations, including Operation Gateway III, where Support Company Marines built three combat outposts along the improvised-explosive-device-laden Route 515 in a very short period of time.

    "We found 37 [IEDs] compared to the six that struck us," Jernigan said. "Of those 37 we found, the overwhelming majority were found because of the homework and planning done."

    The Motor Transportation Co. utilized their Sweep Team, a group of Marines trained to locate IEDs, in order to help neutralize the buried explosives.

    Supplying the fight by air, the helicopter support team completed 80 successful missions, preparing nearly 180,000 pounds of cargo to be airlifted to neighboring forward operating bases and various locations around the area.

    Another essential element was the CLB's aid station, which provided medical care to U.S. service members and the local Afghan populace. Nearly 700 surgeries and life-saving procedures were conducted by the aid station as its staff treated patients with bullets wounds, head injuries and numerous other serious conditions.

    Another medical aspect CLB-3 brought to the fight is the shock trauma platoons placed at Forward Operating Bases Delaram and Now Zad.

    "When we had trauma casualties with head injuries or anything besides sick call, we took care of it," said Seaman Cody R. Coppage, a corpsman assigned to the STP at Delaram. "It's a team effort in everything you do in the STP."

    Coppage said there were a couple corpsmen that volunteered to go on patrols, and it helped show the Afghan people that U.S. forces are trying to provide care and support. He also said a bond was made with the Marines because they knew the corpsmen were there to help if they were needed.

    The battalion's Headquarters Company also played a key role in the fight, working closely with Motor Transportation Co. and Support Co., providing over-watch of operations as well as supplying the battalions internally and externally with everyday needs.

    "As a logistics battalion, we follow the infantry units around," said Sgt. Annie L. Spencer, repairable issue point noncommissioned officer in charge, assigned to Headquarters Co. "The RIP is supposed to be self-sustained and when their [Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle], 7-ton, or humvee breaks, we can fix it."

    The Marine Corps created the RIP as a way to distribute new parts and collect old ones, according to Spencer. "You don't want to worry about little maintenance problems. We want to make sure everything is brand new or rebuilt perfectly."

    The battalion also performed impressive duties such as distributing more than 733,000 pounds of incoming mail and sending out nearly 140,000 pounds. In addition to distributing mail at Camp Barber, the battalion provided a mobile post office for Marines at FOBs to ship packages home.

    Traveling with the mobile post office, the battalion also provided a mobile post exchange and disbursing center, providing Marines the opportunity to take out a cash advance and purchase personal hygiene items and other luxuries.

    The disbursing Marines distributed more than $1,720,000 in casual payment and the exchange took in nearly $357,000 in sales.

    Faced with IEDs, indirect fire, complex attacks and other life-threatening hazards, not one challenge could stop CLB-3 from completing their mission.

    "Every time we went out, it was movement to contact," Jernigan said. "We went out not looking for a fight, but we went out expecting a fight."

    From start to finish, CLB-3 prepared for the first of many deployments, leaving their tire tracks and lasting impressions for future units that will take their place.

    "We trained quickly, but we trained thoroughly. Brilliance in the basics is what [the Marines] heard," said Sgt. Maj. Danny Duvall, the CLB-3 sergeant major. "I think our strength is that they applied exactly that at the lowest level."

    CLB-3, once a nondeployable logistics unit within the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, established their place in history June 2008 as the youngest battalion in the Corps. With the success of their first completed deployment, the battalion has built the foundation for the logistic units that will take their place.

    "Now that we've proved that we can do it and that we're another capability in the Marine Corps, we will continue to pull our weight," Jernigan said. "The Marine Corps makes new organizations for one reason -- to fight and deploy. America can be proud of the Marines and what they did out here."



    Date Taken: 05.24.2009
    Date Posted: 05.24.2009 05:31
    Story ID: 34022
    Location: CAMP BARBER, AF 

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