KIN BLUE, OKINAWA, Japan --
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is the only continually forward deployed MEU in the Marine Corps and is constantly training to be ready when called upon. Combat Logistics Battalion 31, the logistics arm of the 31st MEU, conducted its bi-annual exercise CLBEX, Jan. 5-12, to prepare for the upcoming deployment of the Asia-Pacific Region.
CLB-31 rotates half of its Marines and sailors every six months and conducts the exercise to build camaraderie between the new and returning service members. The field operation is also designed to give many new Marines and sailors an opportunity to become proficient at their Military Occupational Specialty in a deployed environment.
“Our goal during CLBEX is to train on key missions of the 31st MEU,” said Lt. Col. William Arick, CLB-31 commanding officer. “This allows the whole battalion to become more familiar with the scenarios and tempo of a Maritime Contingency Force.”
The entire 300-man battalion was in full force for the exercise and conducted scenarios including; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, non-combatant evacuation and mass casualty evacuation operations as well as detainee handling drills.
Marines and sailors, from the service and support element, learned even more during this particular CLBEX because, unlike in past exercises, a HA/DR and NEO subject matter expert from the II Marine Expeditionary Force partook in the training evolution. James Klotz has worked with the military for more than 30 years and CLB-31 learned from his knowledge and insight during two key CLBEX missions.
“We were able to gain so much more information with his help,” Arick said. “The exercise is already a necessity and to add his expertise makes it that much more of an asset.”
The training offered service members, who are new to the high tempo atmosphere of the MEU, necessary field experience for follow-on operations with host nations like the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of the Philippines.
“There was no time to waste, the Marines had a few days to open presents and bring in the New Year, and now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and ensure we have a successful patrol,” said Arick.