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Marines with Material Readiness Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 1st Marine Logistics Group, take to the sands of the Mojave Desert to perform convoy operations training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 19.

Photo by Cpl. Michele Watson

Dagger Convoy Challenge: CLB-7 patrols through Mojave desert

19 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Michele Watson

For Marines not currently deployed to Afghanistan, rigorous training continues to keep their combat mindset fresh at all times.
The Marines with Material Readiness Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, 1st Marine Logistics Group, took to the sands of the Mojave Desert to perform combat logistics patrol operations training, Aug. 19.
During the training evolution, Marines took part in scenarios that included encounters with improvised explosive devices, vehicle maintenance and combat lifesaving.
“The purpose of the training is to get these guys back into that mentality, the combat mindset,” said 1st Lt. Amanda L. Jones, operations officer, CLB-7, 1st MLG.
With CLB-7 currently deployed, the remaining members of the Material Readiness Company continue training at Twentynine Palms.
“It’s only a matter of time before another unit is going to need a certain amount of motor transport operators and they snatch up one of our Marines,” said Jones, 28, from Bernville, Penn.
For many Marines who have already deployed, the training helps keep the techniques fresh in their minds. But for those still awaiting their first tour, the continuous training evolutions provide the knowledge necessary for deployments.
“It allows us to practice, and it creates muscle memory,” said Pfc. William T. Barrios, a landing support specialist with Material Readiness Company, CLB-7, 1st MLG. “When we’re in country, doing the real thing will be smoother and more efficient.”
During the combat logistics patrol, seven trucks worked together to accomplish multiple objectives. One of the scenarios presented a situation in which one of the trucks was blown up by an IED. While part of the group worked to recover the vehicle, another portion provided medical attention to the Marines who were in the attacked vehicle. Additional members of the combat logistics patrol provided security while the recovery was in effect.
“This type of training is important; it’s what we do over there every day,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Niko Lunetta, corpsman, Headquarters and Support Company, CLB-7, 1st MLG. “When an injury or an IED occurs, this training gets me used to what to expect so I can get my job done, which is to save lives.”
Within minutes of the call that an IED blast took out one of the vehicles, Marines and their corpsmen worked fast to handle the situation, utilizing communication networks to send “Nine-Lines,” the casualty information report, to higher command in order to request medical evacuations.
“There’s always room for improvement, but they did extremely well,” said Lunetta, 27, a Miami native. “We got to the injured quick, we got them to a safe location and called in the Nine-Line.”
Jones said the participants of the combat logistics patrol did a great job handling their objectives.
“A lot of these guys are Afghan veterans so this is still pretty fresh in their minds,” said Jones. “Doing this training reminded them that they know what they are doing and builds up their confidence. They performed as expected, if not better.”
The continuous use of training will keep the remainder of CLB-7 Marines prepared for any upcoming billets they may need to fill while forward deployed.

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