CLB-3 keeps 2/3 war machine fueled at PTA
By Cpl. Matthew Callahan
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | August 02, 2013
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii --
Warfare is a logistician’s game. The resources necessary to sustain war fighters is immense, requiring a swath of planning and know-how behind the iron curtain of firepower and battlefield prowess Marines are renowned for.
3rd Marine Regiment
Combat Logistics Battalion 3
Exercise Lava Viper
Pohakuloa Training Area
There are few things that can slow an infantry battalion down, but faltering in swift and effective resupply of vital resources to keep Marines moving is one of them.
With more than 11,000 hours of driving time, transport of more than 3,200 personnel and 3.4 million pounds of cargo during 147 missions, Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 proved mission accomplishment relies on the intimate and often overlooked relationship infantrymen have with their support element counterparts.
Exercise Lava Viper is a battalion-level combined-arms exercise designed to enhance the skills of participating Marines part of the ground combat and support element.
The “Island Warriors” of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment relied on a bustling network of Marines in various military occupational specialties in “The Club.” In the field, CLB-3 Marines endeavored to provide food, water, fuel, transportation and combat engineer support to the training infantry Marines.
Wherever the “Island Warriors” needed to go, CLB-3 was on deck to ensure hasty insertion by medium tactical vehicle replacement, often referred to as 7-tons, by Marines. Navy corpsmen with the logistics battalion regularly tested the chemical content of the water supplied in the field, brandishing kits to measure for chlorine, bromine and alkalinity, ensuring water remains consistently potable. The battalion ran fuel trucks across the barren landscape, providing fuel for infantry Marines’ tactical vehicles, saving trips back to the rear and ensuring uninterrupted training.
“Being in PTA, you see the bigger picture,” said Lance Cpl. Christian Sotelo, a 7-ton vehicle commander with Transportation Service Company, CLB-3. “What we do out here, we don’t get to do in the rear. It’s a job and a job that has to get done, and we do it well.”
Some infantrymen may be quick to overlook any MOS that doesn’t start with “03,” but the bigger picture Sotelo referred to is what kept the war machine performing on all cylinders.
Combat engineers with Engineer Service Company, CLB-3 were with the infantrymen every step of the way, embedding within companies to provide breaching knowledge and execution during live-fire attack ranges.
“We’re the jack of all trades,” said Cpl. Cody Walker, a team leader with Engineer Service Co., CLB-3. Walker said training with the infantry “gets us mission effective, just like the grunts. They train for effectiveness, and so do we.”
His team carried M028 Bangalore torpedoes for the wire breaches on the Infantry Platoon Battle Course at Range 10. The course was a 1000-meter rollercoaster ride of rocky terrain.
Engineers moved up the middle of the live-fire attacks with the infantrymen, performing their duties and making the transition from various parts of the battle space seamless for advancing personnel. After a breach, they laid engineer tape onto the deck, guiding Marines, single-file, as they advanced.
“Infantry battalions rely on us to be proficient in our jobs. If we’re not, they become delayed,” said Lance Cpl. Jessica Romero, an engineer with Engineer Service Co., CLB-3. “I never thought I would be working with explosives coming into this job at first. I like what I do and I work hard. As support in CLB-3, I feel we’ve done more than most.”
A Marine infantry battalion is a fierce, high-octane machine, and has proved capable of striking fear into the hearts of generations of enemy combatants over an illustrious history of war fighting. But for all of its might and tactical superiority, the iron curtain becomes an immovable object without the pulley operators — the logisticians.