CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
From March to October 2009, Combat Logistics Battalion 8 deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Fortunately, every Marine who deployed with the battalion returned to Camp Lejeune, N.C and they completed their mission on a high note.
To ensure future deployments are just as successful as the last, the commanding officer of CLB-8, Lt. Col. Chris Braney, and his Marines conducted a Command Post Exercise, March 22 - 25 to prepare his men to utilize proper command and control assets while in a hostile combat environment.
"This exercise is critical. We conduct this training so Marines don't forget the essentials of conducting operations in a combat environment." Braney said.
"But we are light years ahead of where I expected us to be since this is the first time we are conducting this exercise since returning from our last deployment in October."
During the exercise Marines set up a fully operational Command Operations Center that simulated actual operations that would be conducted if forward-deployed. Subordinate companies executed combat logistics patrols, provided entry control patrol security and control at both the Motor Pool ECP and battalion's COC, and established and maintained an intranet using the Unit Operations Center.
"We didn't want any attrition of our battle skills due to summer PCS rotations, new joins to the units and other deployments." Braney explained.
Capt. Terry Horton, operations officer, CLB-8, commanded Transportation Support Company during the battalion's last deployment to Afghanistan. He says improving on the lessons learned in 2009 is essential in making the next deployment even better.
"Everyone from the PFC to the captain to the master sergeant can provide input on how to improve the way we conduct operations while deployed." He said.
Cpl. Matthew Gardner, motor transport operator and Corporal of the Guard for the security of the COC, says even at his level in the command Marines need to refresh and reset the skills they learned in combat for future deployments.
"For some of the Marines who've never been to combat before, it's good training for them to know what to expect when we get there and for the guys who have been before, this allows them to refine their skills."
When the battalion deploys to Afghanistan again next year, they will be even more prepared to carry out their mission while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.