News: 7th ESB Marines take on field exercise
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Marines with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, completed a large-scale exercise here, Oct. 15.
The field exercise measured the battalion’s readiness and provided a training environment where each section directly supported the objective.
“The purpose of the exercise was to gain an understanding from the battalion of where we stand for deployments,” said Gunnery Sgt. Larry McCutcheon, Headquarters and Support Company gunnery sergeant, 7th ESB. “The morale was great, and I think we’ll be ready to move forward if we’re called.”
McCutcheon said, the various companies within 7th ESB conducted their portion of the exercise separately, like puzzle pieces. If one person or unit failed to do their job it could hinder the overall exercise.
“Everyone’s job is important,” said McCutcheon, 32, from Lake City, S.C. “The Marines were really great. They were provided with information on how their job helps the battalion as a whole.”
The exercise included the construction of the largest fuel farm built by 7th ESB in Camp Pendleton. The battalion constructed a temporary base site with a one-mile perimeter and a seven-foot berm earlier in the week. Marines constructed a combat operations center and opened communications with all supporting units, including Alpha Company, 7th ESB, which conducted its exercises at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Bulk Fuel Company, 7th ESB, constructed a 32,000-gallon fuel farm to support the exercise and train Marines. The fuel farms are used in a deployment environment to fuel machinery and vehicles to support operations.
“We built it completely from the ground up,” said 28-year-old Sgt. Kelly A. Brown, from Manassas, Va., a bulk fuel specialist with Bulk Fuel Company. “This is the largest fuel farm we’ve built for a training exercise. It gave the Marines much opportunity to learn their jobs. We had to come up with the fine details, schematics, layout, measurements and how big to build the berm.”
Combat engineers with Bridge Company, 7th ESB, built a non-standard bridge to move heavy equipment in a deployed environment and overcome obstacles. The bridge can also be installed to provide better driving conditions and improve foreign relations.
“They put the bridge up, which normally takes around nine hours, in about five hours,” said 34-year-old Staff Sgt. Timothy Liners, from Brooklyn, N.Y., a combat engineer with Bridge Company. “It was a textbook move, very smooth. They did it exceptionally well.”
The battalion tore down the base site six days after the set-up. No major hitches or problems hindered the exercise and McCutcheon considered it to be a success.
“It’s been a great learning experience working with these Marines,” he said. “When that time comes and we’re called, we can go out there and get the job done.”