CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – For the first time in ten years, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, executed an embarkation exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 18, 2013.
The battalion, based out of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., practiced embarking and disembarking tactical vehicles from Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicles and Landing Craft Utility boats, to see how well they, as a battalion, could load and offload vehicles.
“We have great training opportunities aboard Twentynine Palms, but we have been lulled into a sense of complacency when it comes to embarking in our own field,” said 1st Lt. Mia Hencinsky, operations officer, CLB-7, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “We realized that to reach that next level of amphibious strategic mobility, we needed to go somewhere outside of our own turf.”
The battalion spent a week familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of unloading and loading vehicles and personnel onto landing crafts.
“Usually we are geared more toward motor transportation operations, but this (exercise) is focusing on the landing force support party,” said 1st Lt. Grant Cooper, assistant operations officer, CLB-7, CLR-1, 1st MLG. “This exercise really shakes things up for the Marines and gets them out of their creature comforts. It is all really new to most everyone here so we are learning as we go.”
With the support of the Navy’s landing force shore party, Beachmaster Unit 1, several tactical vehicles loaded with Marines in battle gear were successfully loaded and offloaded.
“Working with LCACs and LCUs for the first time was a crawl-walk-run approach,” said Cooper, a native of San Diego. “We need to start getting back to our amphibious roots. This is just the first step, and the battalion doesn’t get much time working with the Navy, but I think it’s good to just establish a relationship with the Navy and move on from there.”
With an impending deployment to Afghanistan next year, the exercise provided the battalion good insight into what can be improved upon in regards to embarking the battalion.
“There have been a lot of lessons learned,” said Hencinsky, a native of Severna Park, M.D. “Marines don’t get a lot of opportunity to work on the beach, which has presented different variables that they have to deal with that forces them to think outside the box since they are not on their home base. I have been impressed with what I’ve seen from the Marines.”