By LCpl Shaltiel Dominguez
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – “I need two Marines to provide security here!” shouted GySgt Hector Rivera as the wind picked up and the area was engulfed in dust and the remains of burnt vegetation. Behind him, Marines set up a perimeter using concertina wire while others continued to disassemble the command center.
Rivera and the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group were part of a combat operations center exercise conducted aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 4-6, 2013.
“We have 46 Marines and sailors participating in the exercise out here, as well as 11 vehicles in our convoy,” said 1stLt Charles Cain, Headquarters & Support Company officer-in-charge, CLB-5. “The exercise is about establishing our command and control nodes within the battalion. It will allow us to evaluate how well we can move to a position, establish it, and rapidly displace and set up to another position.”
The Marines of CLB-5 train to set up and displace two combat operations centers, forward and main, within approximately two hours. Throughout the three-day exercise, they will move both the centers every 24 hours.
Although the future time and place of deployment is still uncertain, CLB-5 relentlessly trains in order to support the Corps’ needs for a rapidly deployable force, said Cain.
“We’re about to take over the Marine Expeditionary Brigade mission with CLB-5,” said Cain, a native of Salem, Ore. “We’re going to have to provide our own infrastructure and command and control. It’s vitally important that our Marines can rapidly set up and displace in an expeditionary environment.”
The Marines of CLB-5 were able to train in numerous expeditionary fields, ranging from providing security and surveillance, to setting up infrastructure, communications and other support systems.
“What’s most important is communicating with the Marines and letting them know clearly what needs to get done so they can do it efficiently and without any problems,” said Cpl Dyna S. Eng, a field radio operator with H & S Co., CLB-5.
In addition, the exercise has improved unit cohesion and has allowed the Marines to better understand how their unit functions in an expeditionary environment.
“This exercise allows us as a company to get together and to see how everything flows,” said Eng, a native of Seattle, Wash. “Especially with new Marines, it’s good for them to get training on how each section from the company functions.”
Finally, for Marines and sailors who have already deployed, the exercise provides opportunities for them to mentor the less experienced Marines.
“Being in a unit is like being in a family,” said PO1 Michael Bundeson, a corpsman with H & S Co., CLB-5., and who has been on five combat deployments before. “Exercises like these give you a chance to teach newer Marines and sailors ways to do things more effectively. That’s the part that motivates me the most.”