KIN BLUE, OKINAWA, Japan (Jan. 20, 2010) --
The Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), kicked-off their new year by conducting CLB Exercise (CLBEX) Jan. 4-8.
CLBEX is conducted twice a year (before spring patrol and before fall patrol) to keep the Marines and sailors up to date with the equipment and give them an opportunity to build camaraderie within the battalion, said Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Lerette, CLB-31 engineer chief and acting sergeant major for the exercise.
“The key objective of CLBEX is to ensure our Marines, sailors and equipment are prepared and capable of carrying out their missions during the upcoming deployment,” Lerette said.
According to Capt. Jeampierre Bermeo, CLB-31 operations officer, all sections had responsibilities or events to conduct throughout the exercise. The San Diego native said Motor Transport Platoon conducted day and night convoys. Engineer Platoon supplied more than 150,000 gallons of potable drinking water using the Tactical Water Purification System (TWPS). Landing Force Support Platoon (LFSP) served as the embarkation team. Maintenance Platoon kept everything running smoothly and took care of any reparations needed. Supply provided the service members with everything they needed to make the exercise a successful one. Medical personnel conducted nightingale operations and provided healthcare throughout the exercise. A nightingale operation involves evacuating troops from a battle zone. “Docs” are airlifted to the site to treat and evacuate the wounded.
Other training scenarios included evacuation control center (ECC) training, non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO) with entry control point (ECP) guards posted around the clock.
However, CLBEX wasn’t just about proficiency. According to Lerette, the exercise also helped build camaraderie between new and old members of the unit.
“Between 30 and 50 percent of CLB personnel are new, and it is important for the Marines to be comfortable with one another for the upcoming patrol,” said the Lisbon Falls, Maine native.
Marines also used the exercise as an opportunity to expand their knowledge of their military occupational specialty (MOS) and related fields.
“The exercise also helps us cross train in different military occupational specialties. During deployments we sometimes get spread a little thin, and it helps to have Marines that are well-rounded and proficient in several jobs,” said Lance Cpl. Victor Blandon, a CLB-31 water support technician and native of Miami.
Additional classes such as weapons familiarization were also given as refreshers to service members.
“All Marines go through boot camp and (Marine Combat Training) and have obtained the basic knowledge (of combat skills), but if you don’t use it, you lose it,” Lerette said. “We want to make sure our troops get proficient and stay proficient in every aspect of being a Marine.”
The MEU is currently preparing for its Spring Patrol to the Kingdom of Thailand in support of Exercise Cobra Gold 2010 (CG ’10) and the Republic of the Philippines in support of Exercise Balikatan 2010 (BK ’10).