CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with 1st Marine Logistics Group conducted a group-wide combat operations center exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 16 - 27, 2013. The exercise was conducted to practice command and control at the group level and included the setup of a command and control hub and forward operating bases.
Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st MLG, assembled the main hub and coordinated with other units within the group, such as CLR-1, CLR-15, Combat Logistics Battalion 15 and 7th Engineer Support Battalion.
“This is the first time we’ve set it up at the MLG level,” said 1st Lt. Tyler Morrison, executive officer of Headquarters Company, CLR-17 and the camp commandant of the Kilo-2 detachment during the exercise. “We wanted to make sure it worked in the field and that we could practice taking reports from subordinate units and exercise command and control.”
The main hub of the exercise was set up and maintained by more than 150 Marines with CLR-17 at the Kilo-2 range. Additional forward operating bases were constructed at Juliet and India range.
Because of the complexity of the exercise, two months of planning and a week of construction were spent before the evolution began. The final week was spent training in different communications and control procedures. Due to the scale of the exercise, Morrison stressed the importance of being able to synchronize every asset involved.
“Though it may not be likely that the entire MLG is going to deploy as a whole, we need to ensure that if we do deploy as the MLG, then the group staff can exercise command and control over all subordinate elements,” said Morrison, a native of Okemos, Mich.
In addition, the exercise was crucial in providing the Marines with a realistic training environment to prepare for future deployments in support of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This exercise is important for 1st MLG because we can get called to support I MEF, which is part of our nation’s force in readiness,” said Morrison. “It’s part of our responsibility to always be ready for a variety of contingencies.”
The magnitude of the exercise provided the Marines with a great deal of experience in coordinating and working with other units to get the job done.
“You get to learn the different jobs of the different sections and what they do,” said Lance Cpl. Tonique Broadway, an administrative specialist with CLR-17. “It helped me grow as a Marine because instead of focusing on your specific job, you learn more about how the entire unit functions and how to do things efficiently.”
A large exercise comes with many challenges. The Marines improvised and adapted to the trials they encountered to successfully complete their objectives at the end of the two weeks.
“With any field exercise, there’s always a degree of uncertainty,” said Morrison. “No matter how much you prepare, there’s always things that come up that you have to adapt to. The Marines that were out there did a great job of being flexible and providing creative solutions so that the mission could be accomplished.”