TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA, UNITED STATES -- TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. – Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 453, Combat Logistics Regiment 4, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, resupplied Marines and conducted convoy operations in support of live-fire combined arms training events during Integrated Training Exercise 4-17 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California on June 1-12, 2017.
ITX is the largest annual Marine Forces Reserve training exercise, focusing on utilization of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, composed of a ground combat element, logistics combat element and air combat element, to prepare battalion and squadron-sized units for combat under the most realistic conditions possible.
The Marines with CLB-453 were charged with resupplying 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, MARFORRES, with ammunition throughout ITX 4-17. During the four day final battalion exercise, CLB-453 deployed a mobile combat service area from Camp Wilson, where the command element of CLB-453 was located, to a location much closer to the ranges being used by 2nd Bn., 25th Marines.
“We wanted to show our capabilities as the logistics combat element and the best way to do that is not functioning in the rear, but actually pushing out to the training areas to directly support the ground combat element, providing supplies, lifts and ammunitions,” said Maj. Erick Pardo, operations officer for Motor Transportation Company, CLB-453.
Upon arrival at the combat service area location, the battalion spent the night setting up everything they would need for the next few days of operations. Six Up-Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles formed a 360 degree security perimeter around the battalion as they set up communication towers and a battalion aid station with the necessary medical equipment and abundant water.
Once security was in place, communication towers became top priority. Without the towers the Marines and sailors would have no communication with their command operations center or the ground combat element.
“You train how you fight, and you never go out without command and control,” said Pardo. “Having command and control is being able to have communication with your internal supporting units and those adjacent to your area of operations. It’s imperative to have communication established to pass on critical information.”
As some Marines worked on the communication tower, others assembled the battalion aid station and moved the medical equipment inside. Marines were also able to provide electricity and air conditioning to the BAS. CLB-453 remained in their forward position, supporting ground troops for four days during the exercise at the point of highest operational tempo and in record high temperatures.
Though the Marines and sailors operated in an exercise scenario, they conducted real world logistical operations helping them maintain the familiarity of basic skills required for deployment.
“It is a priority for any command to make sure our Marines are taken care of and realistically anticipate that there will be casualties,” said Pardo. “Under this training environment we knew we weren’t only fighting enemies but, we were actually fighting the real life elements and potential for heat casualties.”
At every BAS the Marines and Navy corpsmen of CLB-453 established, they ensured that ice was readily available and easily accessible, reducing the chance of heat casualties. Marines and sailors continuously monitored water sources and filled water tanks with ice. Temperatures averaged 110 to 115 degrees and the Marines had to acclimatize quickly.
Though they did not take part in the live-fire attacks happening on the ranges, Marines and sailors of CLB-453 proved their ability to support the infantry battalions in an austere environment.
“Our task was to support the combat companies,” said Pardo. “I knew that our motor transportation guys were trained and ready to commit and ready to go, said Pardo “I do think that both companies, Headquarters and Service Company and Motor Transportation Company, as the combat logistics battalion really succeeded and surpassed the initial expectation of what the logistics combat element could bring to the fight.”