NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The rumbling of two dozen logistics and humanitarian aid vehicles broke the bayside morning calm, as approximately 80 Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, began an embarkation operation aboard Naval Base San Diego, Calif., June 19, 2014.
The equipment, which consisted of water purification systems, power generators and logistics and supply vehicles, was loaded onto amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD-18) as part of a buildup to support the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit during its operations around the Indian Ocean next year.
“We have generators to provide power, tactical water purification systems that can provide clean potable water to a population, and heavy equipment to open up roadways, move equipment and provide all kinds of support,” said Capt. Travis Aiello, load exercise officer-in-charge with CLB-15, 1st MLG.
Aside from being able to engage, close with and destroy threats around the globe, MEUs are also capable of providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to U.S. government authorities, also known as a Defense Support of Civil Authorities operation. Furthermore, the exercise enhanced the interoperability between the Navy-Marine Corps team, reinforcing a return to the Marine Corps’ amphibious roots, and familiarized the Marines involved with ship life.
“In this day and age we’re getting back to our seafaring roots and our expeditionary nature. We need to build those bonds with our Navy counterparts,” said Aiello, a native of Burlington, N.J. “This is important so that we can operate more efficiently, be it in a combat environment or in a DSCA environment.”
In addition to loading logistical equipment, the amphibious transport was able to load an entire convoy of nearly two dozen vehicles, each with different capabilities and functions.
“The vehicles loaded onto the ship provide a wide array of capabilities to the MEU, from resupplying forward units with the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, to recovering wreckage in a disaster operation with the M88 recovery vehicles and the Logistics Vehicle Systems,” said Cpl. Jason Anderson, an embarkation specialist with CLB-15, 1st MLG.
“These vehicles allow units to adapt to the different situations they might encounter while in an expeditionary environment,” added Anderson, of Clintonville, Wis. All the vehicles and equipment come together during DSCA operations, which are situations where the military provides local authorities with support, sending aid to areas in the United States where the infrastructure might be damaged beyond the local authorities’ capabilities.
“We’re trying to get practice in for most of the junior Marines, it’s not so important to go as fast at first, but when you get used to gear’s serial numbers, dimensions and characteristics, we’re able to embark equipment much faster, and that’s important when there are people out there that need our help,” said Cpl. Spencer
Ultimately, the training showcased how the Navy-Marine Corps team is able to quickly field its support capabilities, allowing the MEU to tackle a wide array of challenges and help those in need.
“You never know who might need something and how urgently they need it,” said Roberson, of Raeford, N.C. “That’s why we’re here. We’re here to make sure the people in need have the resources necessary to survive.”