KIN BLUE TRAINING AREA, OKINAWA, Japan (Jan. 28, 2010) --
As the logistical element for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, Combat Logistics Battalion 31 must be ready to support the Asia-Pacific Maritime Contingency Force with many complex requirements including food service, security, medical assistance and transportation, all while deployed in austere environments.
CLB-31 conducted CLB Exercise July 19-23 in preparation for the 31st MEU’s upcoming fall patrol. CLB-31 has a tall task; it must provide support to the only continually forward-deployed MEU in the Marine Corps, which is regularly deployed up to 8 months out of the year.
In addition, except for the battalion commander, everyone who serves as a part of CLB-31 is an augment. Augments are usually with the unit for one-year-tours. CLBEX is conducted twice a year to ensure service members are proficient within their military occupational specialty and to build camaraderie within the constantly changing battalion.
Fifty percent of the unit’s Marines and sailors return to their parent units every six months. During its most recent rotation of personnel, the majority of the officer staff was exchanged including the battalion commander, executive officer, and operations officer.
Lt. Col. William E. Arick III took charge as the Battalion commander for CLB-31 on June 11, 2010.
“This is our first chance to evaluate how proficient our MOS skills are and to figure out the kinks,” said the Leonardtown, Md. native. “The staff non-commissioned officers have been showing us the ropes and are making the turnover process run a lot smoother.”
More than 200 service members contributed to the exercise with almost all platoons and sections having responsibilities or events to conduct. Marines and sailors participated in day and night convoys, explosive ordnance disposal firing ranges, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission briefs, mass casualty evacuation missions, evacuation control center rehearsals and chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear defense training.
According to Marines who took part in the exercise, it also gave them some refresher training in areas like weapons familiarization. Marines also said the knowledge was a breath of fresh air since they haven’t seen some of the equipment since basic training or Marine Combat Training.
“The Marines want to be here,” said Arick, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. “They love the high tempo pace of the MEU. This is a great place for young Marines to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to excel.”
Arick has high expectations of his new unit and believes this is just the beginning of many successful patrols of the Asia-Pacific Region.