Tuesday, November 01, 2011

How a US combat logistics unit served the PH, US marines

CROW VALLEY, Philippines: The importance of logistics is well known throughout the US Marine Corps.
It was the knowledge of logistics that made the amphibious landings at Incheon, North Korea, so successful for the Marine Corps, because it effectively cut North Korean supply lines which ultimately
crippled their army.

The 130 Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, applied their logistic knowledge to keep Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 31st MEU operating in the field.

The 31st MEU participated in the annual, bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise in the Republic of the Philippines.

Although this was an exercise, the work of the Marines of CLB 31 was still vital. They ensured that Marines of the BLT are properly supplied by providing them with equipment and logistic support, allowing them to remain effective.

“Our main mission is to support the BLT,” said 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Harrington, the S-4 assistant officer in charge and maintenance management officer. “Our main focus is to provide food, water fuel and ammunition, but we also get to coordinate with the Philippine Marines to do some bilateral support training.”

It was the Marines of CLB 31 that set up the entire camp in Crow Valley. Normally, the job is routine, because setting up a camp is one of the CLB’s main missions, but this time was different.

“When we got out here, the whole area was flooded,” said Harrington. “There was water flowing through the middle of the camp, so we had the engineers build a berm [a raised barrier] to redirect the water to go around the camp so we could move the supplies and equipment in.”

After establishing the camp, CLB Marines had the chance to interact with Philippine service members.
“They are all really good people,” said Cpl. Joseph D. Behler, an embark chief with CLB 31, 31st MEU.
“There is a lot we have that we can teach them, and they have a lot that they can teach us.”

CLB also conducted training sessions with the Philippine Marines. They taught a bilateral Marine Corps Martial Arts Program class and trained on the capabilities of CLB 31’s Humvees. The bulk fuel specialists of CLB instructed the combined service members how to receive fuel from a CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter.

The Marines did not just interact with the Philippine military; they also interacted with local civilians during a community relations event at nearby schools. During the events, US Marines intermingled with the children and helped with sports activities.

Harrington said gave the Marines a greater appreciation of the American lifestyle by seeing the conditions many Philippine citizens live in, which is a unique experience.

Throughout the exercise the efforts of the Marines of CLB 31 continued to ensure the BLT had the supplies and equipment needed, and the local community benefitted from the Marine’s presence.

PHIBLEX is an annual opportunity in the Philippines to conduct training which is vital to maintaining the readiness and interoperability of the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines military forces.

The 31st MEU was operating in support of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade for the exercise and is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the United States’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.
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