March 30, 2012
By Cpl. Mark W. Stroud, Marine Corps Bases Japan
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Company A, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, completed the largest combat logistics patrol to-date through Helmand province March 12-14.
The patrol was completed ahead of schedule despite consisting of more tactical vehicles and more supplies than any previous CLB-4 patrol. CLB-4 is part of, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
“The Marines are getting the hang of operations out here and are becoming (more proficient),” said Staff Sgt. Luis Martinezbido, a platoon sergeant with CLB-4. “We set ourselves a goal to complete the convoy ahead of schedule on this run, and the Marines worked together and went the extra mile to get that done.”
The convoy delivered supplies to Regimental Combat Team 6’s forward operating bases and combat outposts in Helmand province in support of counterinsurgency operations. It also backhauled equipment for repair and retrograde, according to 2nd Lt. Charlsie M. Brooks, a platoon commander with CLB-4.
The number of moving parts involved in this convoy increased the chances of something going wrong and presented a new level of challenges to the Marines.
“This mission was the largest that (CLB-4) has done so far. That alone was a challenge,” said Brooks. “The patrol required a lot of detailed planning from (noncommissioned officers) on up to establish a good security posture and deliver supplies needed to support RCT-6 safely and successfully.”
The Marines also rose to the increased logistical challenge of transferring the large quantity of supplies at the FOBs and COPs, according to Brooks.
“We are becoming more proficient with the actions on objective,” said Brooks. “We (offloaded and on-loaded supplies) in less time than any previous convoy despite having more vehicles.”
Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st MLG (Fwd), and Army soldiers with 96th Transportation Company, 375th Combat Service Support Battalion, Task Force Resolute, joined the convoy in support of separate combat logistics support operations.
“The Army and (9th ESB) embedded trucks in our convoy to complete their own mission,” said Martinezbido. “We basically provided them with gun power and security along the route.”
The arrangement turned out to be mutually beneficial when the Army assisted on the recovery of a pair of broken M870A2 semi-trailers stacked on top of each other, according to Martinezbido.
“Working (with the Army) helped us because we were able to take advantage of their (trailers) for a vehicle recovery operation,” added Martinezbido. “You do not often recover an 870 on top of an 870 … and their flatrack (trailers) were better suited to the job than our own.”
The success of the operation reflected the work and mission-readiness of those involved, said Brooks.
“(The convoy) proved to us that we are fully capable of being flexible and adapting on the move,” said Brooks. “It tells us that the Marines are accomplishing the mission and are ready to move on to bigger challenges down the road.”