U.S. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, participated in Mountain Exercise 6-16 at Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., from Sept. 24 to Oct. 27, 2016.
CLB-15 provided logistical support to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, during their cold weather, high-altitude training in the Sierra Mesa Mountains.
"We're here to support Victor 3/4 as they're [participating] in the mountain exercise and [learning] the mountain terrain," said 1st Lt. Katherine Lukes, the supply officer for CLB-15. "We had people cooking in the chow hall for them and got them supplies when they were in the field. We got them water, chow, and made sure their vehicles were fueled."
The Combat Services Support Detachment was one of the main convoys that supported field operations in support of 3/4 Marines.
"They conducted air resupplies, recovered assets with water and chow, and were able to give four days of chow to infantry Marines out in the area," said 1st Lt. Casey Escamilla, the officer-in-charge of CSSD. "The CSSD supplied 1,900 gallons of water and seven pallets of MREs to the Marines in the mountains."
The CSSD's mission was to resupply the Marines in a quick manner and limit time spent on the roads in the dangerous terrain.
"We were able to resupply all of the companies and ensured that their combat readiness and effectiveness was not lulled due to logistics support," said Escamilla, from Boynton Beach, Florida.
A lot of preparation goes into operations of this scale, according to Lukes. CLB-15 had meetings, training, and classes starting in June to ensure the success of this exercise.
"We got here and the instructors gave us two days of classes on how to adapt to the higher altitude, the cold weather and what to do to combat the elements," said Lukes, from Eagles, Nebraska. "Our drivers had to take a course to better know how to operate on the mountains. Some of the terrain out here is pretty brutal, so we want to mitigate the risk of accidents as much as possible."
CLB-15 had its Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation while supporting 3/4 at Bridgeport, so they can continue providing quality skills.
"Planning for Mountain Ex. was a unique situation for CLB-15," said Houston native, Navy Lt. Amelia Olson, the officer-in-charge of the health services detachment for CLB-15.
"We were split into three different operations to prepare for split operations while we are on deployment. We had to maintain our basic capabilities of our combat lifesaver training for our Marines and our training as corpsmen."
CLB-15 is deploying with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2017 and will require these skills to be effective, according to Lukes.
"This helps our deployments because we learn the scope of what we are able to do and maybe what we're not so good at, so we can go improve it in the future and make ourselves better," she said. "It also helps us work with our higher headquarters, get those command relationships and get to know those people and how the MEU operates, so when we do deploy we have a better understanding of each other."
Along with supporting the 3/4 Marines, the Marines from CLB-15 conducted their cold-weather training while at MWTC, balancing training with real world needs.
"Our Marines performed great," said Escamilla. "We went out with 24 Marines from different military occupation specialties that had to cross-train and learn each other's jobs out in the field. They excelled at their jobs and learned something new."