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Cpl. Andrew J. McDonald, 21, from O’Niell, Neb., a quality control Marine for Motor Transportation Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, runs through a checklist for a vehicle he is repairing here, Nov. 25. Combat Logistics Battalion 5 recently moved to Camp Baharia while continuing their logistical support to the units in the area.

Photo by Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

CLB-5 hits the ground running: New move ensures success for Iraqis, CLB-5

5 Dec 2008 | Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

Just four years ago the streets of Fallujah were a hot zone for terrorist activity. Now that the area is stabilized, Coalition Forces are in the process of returning Camp Fallujah to the Iraqi government.

 Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group knows about this process all too well. With their recent relocation to Camp Baharia complete, the Marines and Sailors continue to keep Regimental Combat Team 1 in the fight by providing them with logistical support.

 “It’s a great sense of accomplishment to see what the Marines and Sailors have done to make (Baharia) functional,” said Maj. Carlos Vallejo, 38, from Stafford, Va., the executive officer for CLB-5. “It’s gone from a lot of nothing but moon dust to a fully functional compound.”

The transformation of the barren lot to the bustling hive of activity it is today took place in a record amount of time. But the biggest feat of the move was CLB-5’s uninterrupted support to units at Camp Fallujah and those already at Camp Baharia.

 “It’s starting to calm down now but we’ve still got everyone going out on missions, and we’ve still got everyone ‘hookin’ and jabbin’’ and doing everything we do,” said Cpl. Michael R. Haven, 23, from Flagstaff, Ariz., a heavy equipment operator with Engineer Platoon, Maint. Co., CLB-5.

 The Marines worked many long days at both camps to get the supplies, equipment and personnel moved to their new home. On top of their regular commitments, most of the preparation work and the move itself was completed by the Marines and Sailors in the battalion.

 “Roughly 80 percent of our site preparation was Motor Transportation Company,” said Capt. Mandy M. Halverson, 31, from Missoula, Mont., the action officer for the Baharia move. “It was done with total organic support from within our battalion,” she said.

 Moving the entire battalion required everyone to put in extra hours. Whether they were taken off regular missions to help with the move, or filling in for those already at Baharia, CLB-5 was stretched thin but still managed to provide the support needed at both camps.

"It went a lot smoother than I thought it would,” said Cpl. Charles King, 23, from Clearwater, Kan., a mechanic with Maint. Co., CLB-5, 1st MLG.

With the new camp set up and the move complete, the Marines and Sailors continue their sustainment as a whole unit once again in their new home. Their efforts will leave the demilitarized Camp Fallujah in the hands of the Iraqi Army.

 “It’s a huge win for the people of Iraq,” Vallejo said. “Now they can function out of a camp that was once an enemy stronghold. But now it is in the hands of Iraqis who can continue the fight against terrorists.”


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