NEW ORLEANS, La. --
Marines with Engineer Services Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 23, 4th Marine Logistics Group, teamed up with the U.S. Forest Service to participate in a two-week annual training event at the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, July 14-27, 2018.
The Marines were tasked with multiple facility improvement projects that included vertical and horizontal wood construction, drainage improvement, concrete pouring and tree felling. Projects such as gravel drainage improvement, lifeguard chair reconstruction, retailing wall reconstruction and road improvements took place during the exercise.
“The intent of this exercise was to accomplish our unit’s mission essential tasks,” said Capt. Jordan Thayer, company commander, Engineer Services Company, CLB-23. “It was my goal to hit a least 50 of those tasks. We hit 53, which prepares our company to do well in the future."
Through the mission, each Marine was able to better understand how to properly handle their equipment. This prepares the Marines in case a combat situation ever arises.
“I hope to continue on the exact same projects that we are already doing because this is exactly what the Marines should be training for,” said Thayer. “Cutting down trees, conducting horizontal and vertical construction, road improvement, survival ability projects and general engineering projects were all great training opportunities.”
The relationship between the U.S. Forest Service and Marine Forces Reserve has allowed the Marines to exercise, maintain and strengthen their skills sets, while giving back to their community.
“Every time we work with the U.S. Forest Service, everyone is very pleased that the facilities are being improved, the roads are easier to drive on and the facilities are safer,” said Thayer. “The local population loves us coming here. We’ve even had a couple people offer us homemade cookies just because of the hard work we were doing.”
By taking advantage of all available training time, they were able to expand their knowledge on basic engineering tasks to perform in a combat zone. The Marines had the benefit of knowing they improved their local communities and saved the community from spending money on local supplies.
With the help of MARFORRES, projects that couldn’t be completed because of lack of funds or manpower can now be accomplished.
“The U.S. Forest Service has a lot of projects that they don’t have the time or money to get done; and the Marines get to meet their annual training requirements,” said Thayer. “They get to dig ditches, improve roads, fill and cut trees. What’s nice is a lot of my Marines live locally so they don’t have to tear the projects down, they get to bring their families back and show them what they did and show their work to the members of the community. With this, they can enjoy the fruits of their labor.”