NOVEMBER 9, 2016, MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina – Between tents dotting a field, a command operation center buzzed with activity, such as Marines leaving on patrol or discussing combat tactics. Combat Logistics Battalion 6 conducted a command post exercise at Bogue Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field, N.C., Nov. 1-4, for their future deployment with Special-Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, Crisis Response-Africa.
Combat Logistics Battalion 6 conducted the training in preparation for their upcoming Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation. They must complete their mission essential tasks and be deemed proficient before given their deployment specific tasks.
“It’s designed to establish the combat operations center as well as get back to the basics; getting Marines familiar with land navigation, and conducting their readiness and training standards under a CBRN environment, patrolling classes and practical application,” said 1st Lt. John Vroom, the logistics and current operations officer with CLB 6.
Many skillsets are needed to support a command post; engineers, electricians, communication specialist all help run a command center. For example, CLB 6 must prove that they can make potable water for their Marines in the field.
“The training focuses on headquarters and support operations,” said Sgt. Jarod Carroll, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear chief and training non-commissioned officer. “[We] set up the command operation center, got communications, and got services up for the COC and the surrounding work spaces.”
Combat Logistics Battalion 6 recently received many Marines fresh from their occupation schools that got the opportunity to go hands-on with gear required for the field.
“Because I’m a water [support technician], we set up tactical water purification systems, which I haven’t touched since the schoolhouse, so it was nice to get hands-on experience with that again,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua Geis, a water support technician with CLB 6.
Marines also reviewed patrolling tactics and got used to the stress of working in a contaminated scenario.
“Training like this puts Marines, especially newer ones, under a different kind of stress than what they would typically see in a garrison type setting,” added Carroll.
Marines on patrol were ambushed by role-players and were hit with CS grenades, commonly known as tear gas, to test what they previously learned and to build confidence in the gear and their abilities.
“I was impressed,” said Carroll. “When we started hitting them with the CS, they immediately stopped what they were doing, masked up, and I heard them passing the alarm by yelling and doing hand-and-arm signals.”
Combat logistics Battalion 6 rounded out the training exercise on a machine gun range. Marines reviewed the parts and operation of the M240B medium machine gun before participating in a live-fire range to allow Marines to get comfortable operating the weapon.
“We’ve established a good foundation for the next battalion field exercise,” said Vroom.
Marines hurried to pack their equipment away into trucks after four days in the field. The Marines initially arrived ready to train for supporting operations, but they left with something more, the confidence to ensure mission accomplishment and continue their training for their upcoming deployment with Special-Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, Crisis Response, Africa.