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Cpl. Salvador Delatorre, line noncommissioned officer, 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), chains down a refrigeration unit at Forward Operating Base Hanson, May 25. During the combat logistics patrol, 1st Plt. dropped off gear to FOBs Hanson, El Paso and Marjah and retrieved containers filled with gear the operating units no longer needed as part of the retrograde effort in Regional Command (Southwest).

Photo by Sgt. Michele Watson

Marines support retrograde operations

1 Jun 2012 | Sgt. Michele Watson

Marines with 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) continued their daily resupply efforts in support of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, May 25.

Prior to leaving their lot at Camp Dwyer, the Marines thoroughly checked their tactical vehicles to help ensure a breakdown-free trip.

“The biggest obstacle we face on these convoys is the possibility of trucks going down, but we always find a way to make it work,” said Cpl. Kyle Corbin, manifest noncommissioned officer, 1st Plt., Alpha Co.

The trucks go through continuous preventive maintenance and inspections to ensure they are prepared for each combat logistics patrol.

“The vehicle checks are the most effective method of ensuring a smooth combat logistics patrol,” said Cpl. Salvador Delatorre, line NCO, 1st Plt., Alpha Co. “We always check [the suspension] before we start prepping for the convoy. We also check the electrical systems and the door locks as a main focus.”

As the sun began to rise, 1st Plt. set out for Forward Operating Bases Marjah, Hanson and El Paso to drop off containers of requested gear and retrieve items from the bases as part of the retrograde effort in Regional Command (Southwest).

As 2nd Bn., 9th Marines wraps up their deployment, the infantry battalion is closing bases and retrograding gear and equipment. In accordance with the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ guidance, everything must be accounted for responsibly.

“Because of the demilitarization, there are deadlines we have to meet as some patrol bases are being shut down,” said Staff Sgt. Nicole Green, motor transport chief, Alpha Co., CLB-5.

With Marines from 3rd Bn., 8th Marine Regiment preparing to take over in the area of operations, CLB-5 is helping to ensure the incoming Marines are set-up for success.

“These combat logistics patrols are helping us shrink the footprint of [3rd Bn., 8th Marines],” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Johnson, logistics chief, Headquarters and Support Co., 2nd Bn., 9th Marines.

Although Alpha Co. focuses on general support to RCT-5, they have provided direct support to 2nd Bn., 9th Marines since the beginning of May when the unit began preparing to redeploy. 

“[Alpha Company] helps greatly due to the downsizing of our positions, and they help with our redeployment and getting gear out of here,” said Johnson.

The small unit leadership of the platoon plays a significant role in the success of CLB-5.

“Teamwork, in all aspects, is an understatement,” said Green. “Our NCOs think ahead with minimal supervision. Corporals are running the show, and while they are planning out the roads for the next mission, it allows the sergeants to look forward and logistically plan the days ahead.”

“They need water, food, ammunition and vehicle replacement parts,” said Corbin, 29, a Dallas native. “If they don’t have all the essentials, they can’t complete their mission. We help keep them in the fight.”

Although retrograde actions are being conducted, the main focal point of the combat logistics patrols remains providing sustainment to units throughout the area of operations.


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