MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS --
Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 3 began a construction project at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, at the beginning of March.
The battalion is giving 10 cargo shipping containers a makeover. The mission is designed to make the metal units look like a low quality home with a roof, windows and doors.
“The shipping containers are all the same, but CLB-3 is going to cut them in different shapes and sizes at six different sites,” said Ralph E. Scott Jr., a specialist with the Range and Training Area Management, Operations and Training Directorate. “Most of the units will be placed along the roads between the three (military operations on urban terrain) facilities in order to provide a better training experience for Marines.”
The Marine Corps paid $48 million to contractors to build three MOUT facilities at MCTAB, and while looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of the training area Scott had an idea.
“We have our own unit on base that can build things, so instead of paying contractors we can let our active duty Marines handle it,” he explained. “The Marine Corps spent $6,000 for materials, and the CLB-3 guys were given free reign to construct the units. It’s also a good opportunity to increase small unit leadership as they work in teams throughout the project.”
On March 21, the Marines with CLB-3 were at one of the six job sites digging holes as placeholders for the poles. The holes were then filled with concrete, and the Marines constructed the wall around the job site.
“There are plenty of things you have to watch out for when constructing these things,” said Lance Cpl. Adrian Esparza, an engineer with CLB-3. “We have to make sure the holes are evenly spaced so the walls won’t be jagged when we put them in.”
After the wall was completed, the Marines called in a forklift to place the shipping container-turned-housing unit in the enclosed area.
“We’ve already finished one (unit), working on and off,” said Lance Cpl. Shawn Sullens, an engineer with CLB-3. “Adding the time we waited for the wall and structures to dry, it took us a week or so to build it.”
A finished site consists of a completed shipping-container unit, with its metal casing covered in a clunky, plastered surface.
It also features a single wooden door with window frames on one of the adjacent sides. A wall surrounds the unit to make it look like an actual residence. Inoperable vehicles and bicycles have been placed near the units to give the appearance of people living there.
After all six sites have been completed along the road, the Marines will incorporate several more shipping units inside parts of the MOUT facilities.
Marines with CLB-3 plan to have all 10 shipping containers transformed and implemented throughout the MOUT facilities by the start of the 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercise.