CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan --
Marines with Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) made good use of their extra day this leap year providing needed supplies to patrol bases in Southern Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 29.
Along with food and mail, the Marines dropped off 27,000 gallons of water to members of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.
CLB-1 is stationed at Camp Dwyer and supports the majority of the patrol bases south of Camp Leatherneck. Almost every day, Motor Transport Co. conducts combat logistics patrols that take supplies to forward operating bases and pick up containers of unused gear.
“In the beginning, it was all about boosting these guys up and getting them what they need to fight,” said Staff Sgt. Aldo Herrera, motor transport chief, 3rd Platoon, Motor Transport Co., CLB-1,1st MLG (Fwd). “Now it’s about getting them out of here and getting everyone home.”
For the infantry units on the smaller bases, combat logistics patrols have greatly improved their quality of life.
Cpl. Ian Cabanillas, an infantryman with India Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines, was used to austere living conditions but now lives in a tent with a wood floor. The tents have heating and air conditioning.
“Logistical support has put a roof over my head and a floor under my feet,” said Cabanillas. “Without them, I’d still be living in a mud hut.”
Though food and water are basic necessities, CLB-1 also provides the FOBs with some luxuries as well.
“I think logistical support is great,” said Lance Cpl. Blake Turner, an infantryman with India Co., 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be drinking this Dr. Pepper.”
A soda may not seem like the high-life, but for some ground units living on small, isolated FOBs for extended periods, it’s the little things in life that matter.
Mail is another source of morale for the patrol bases. An entire truck load was delivered to PB Dehli, and the motor transport Marines offloaded the supplies.
During offloading and on loading, Marines remain vigilant with safety precautions.
“Every single lot we visit, the sergeants supervise to ensure we’re performing our duties correctly and safely,” said Lance Cpl. Tristan McBlane, motor transport operator, Motor Transport Co., CLB-1.
After dropping off the supplies, the company picked up containers in preparation for the retrograde of equipment such as unused gear, vehicles, generators and tents.
The retrograde is a proactive effort by CLB-1, and it speeds up the process of getting unused gear back to the U.S. As the troop numbers begin to shrink, the early actions of CLB-1 will prevent the buildup of excess gear. This will prepare the Marine Corps for future missions in other environments.
The group visited three patrol bases, dropping off mail, food and water, and picked up 16 truckloads of retrograde items, which will eventually be shipped out of Afghanistan. The Marines accomplished their mission in a single day.
“These guys work well together,” said Herrera. “They get their job done and run very efficiently. I’m proud of them.”