News: 3rd MLG practices for humanitarian assistance
Story by Lance Cpl. Kentavist Brackin
The two-week exercise was designed to build proficiency within the logistics combat element of the III MEF Alert Contingency MAGTF and provide a force that can deploy in response to a natural disaster or need for humanitarian assistance in Asia-Pacific region.
"It's been several years since 3rd MLG conducted focused training for this mission; not surprising given the extremely high operational tempo of III MEF in general," said Col. Jay L. Hatton, the commanding officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd MLG.
Personnel were chosen from every aspect of 3rd MLG capable of providing transportation/distribution, general engineering, health care services, landing support/aerial delivery, maintenance, supply, military police and explosive ordnance support.
The purpose of the training is to prepare the Marines for an event that requires more support than the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit can provide or if they are engaged in a different mission, these Marines will be trained, organized and ready, according to 1st Lt. Courtney A. Ochs, assistant operations officer for CLR-3.
"Sometimes a community is isolated because of a disaster, for example landslides, and that's when the international community needs us. They may not have the capability to deliver supplies by helicopter or have the vehicles that can deliver heavy loads off road," she said.
"Most of our folks have never trained for these types of missions before which always presents a challenge'" said Hatton. "However, this aspect of the exercise also generated the most interest and enthusiasm across the ranks since it allowed Marines and sailors to branch out beyond their normal military occupational specialty training and experience something new."
The last day of their field training, Marines and sailors practiced mass-casualty exercises, foreign humanitarian assistance, entry control point procedures for vehicles and pedestrians and learned to screen sick victims to determine if they should be let inside the camp or quarantined.
According to Petty Officer 3rd Class John A. Idah, a corpsman from 3rd Medical Battalion, CLR-35, 3rd MLG, the screening of mock victims while guarding a check point helped him understand the bigger picture of his role as a corpsman. The training ensured he can fulfill different practical roles in the field should the MAGTF possibly deploy to render humanitarian assistance, he said.
Role-playing patients would approach Idah's check point seeking aid in the camp and were stopped by his team. The team checked the incoming patients for weapons before Jones was allowed to screen them.
"We are screening to prevent any contagious diseases from getting into the camp," he said.
One of the most important aspects of this training, according to Idah, was practicing coordination between those distributing clothing and water and those providing other assistance during a natural disaster. This coordination ensures aid is distributed in the most organized and efficient way possible without redundancy, he said.