CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – The Marines and sailors supplying the infantry and other coalition forces have a job with long hours, late nights and early mornings.
Recently, a combat logistics patrol comprised of 22 vehicles and more than 60 Marines and sailors traveled to three forward operating bases. The convoy departed at 8 p.m. and returned 32-hours later. They returned after picking up an additional two vehicles, three trailers and a forklift.
For servicemembers with 4th Platoon, Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistic Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, this is a typical convoy. They travel to different bases with supplies for the Marines and pick up anything broken or not needed.
“On this last mission, we resupplied 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines,” said 1st. Lt. Andrew Schlottmann, the platoon commander.
Schlottmann’s platoon brought food, drinks, surveillance equipment and construction materials to three bases. The platoon often brings mission essential items.
“The construction materials will help the combat engineers improve the base,” said Schlottmann. “What we bring to the bases is often used very quickly. Sometimes we have gear critical to the Marines’ mission, so they’ll have someone waiting for us to get that piece of gear.”
Marines understand supplying the battalions is vital to the mission. They take pride in making sure the Marines and coalition forces at the smaller bases have what they need.
“What we do is critical,” said Sgt. Adam Virosztko, platoon sergeant, 4th Platoon. “Without us, the Marines at the bases wouldn’t be able to do what they do. It’s not just about driving from point A to point B, it’s about making sure they have everything they need at each point.”
With the number of vehicles and personnel, keeping track of everything is not an easy task.
“It can be a challenge to coordinate all the moving parts,” said Schlottmann. “Fortunately, we have some extremely competent noncommissioned officers, and Sgt. Varosztko does a very good job.”
The Marines traveled knowing the dangers involved of driving in a combat zone. While firefights are a possibility, the main concern for the convoy is improvised explosive devices.
Each patrol travels with a security team. The team investigates any potential IED threats, provides security and is ready to engage an enemy when needed.
The platoon has been in Afghanistan for approximately three months and has traveled throughout Helmand province supporting Marines and coalition forces.
“We’ve become very proficient,” said Schlottman. “The Marines proved they can operate their vehicles according to our standard operating procedures.”
Following the SOPs is vital for drivers who often find themselves in tight places and on roads not designed for large vehicles. Operators are vigilant not to cause damage or harm to any locals or their buildings.
“Fortunately, all our operators are extremely well trained, and we haven’t had any incidents with locals and always accomplish our mission,” said Schlottmann.
Despite the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, supplying the Marines is still a vital and necessary job. The Marines with CLB-2 continue to drive through Afghanistan, dropping off and picking up anything and everything until the mission is accomplished.
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This work, Combat logistics patrol supports mission, supplies Marines, by Sgt Timothy Lenzo, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.