CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Nearly 60 Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 8, 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducted a first of its kind multistate long-range convoy March 12 - 17.
The purpose of the exercise was to test the battalion’s mission readiness, which consisted of basic warrior skills, recovery procedures, distribution and equipment repairs, as well as evacuation techniques and motor vehicle operations.
“The idea came up last summer while we were still in Afghanistan,” explained Lt. Col. Michael E. McWilliams, the CLB-8 commanding officer. “We were talking about how we can approach training and start to prepare our Marines for convoy operations.”
The Battalion was tasked months later with transporting gear to Marine Depot Maintenance Command, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., for repairs. Leadership viewed the mission as the perfect venue to hone their convoy skills.
“We took that opportunity to integrate training into a real life mission,” McWilliams said. “This is the first time CLB-8 has done a convoy training exercise of this magnitude.”
The troops drove more than 300 miles to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., to visit their fellow logistics Marines with Combat Logistics Company 23 during day one of the six-day exercise.
“I think that stop in Beaufort gave the [Marines and sailors who participated in the convoy] an idea of what other Marines in the MLG are doing,” McWilliams said.
After the visit they drove to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., where they spent the night.
The convoy continued their journey the next morning with a 250 mile drive to Albany, where they spent the next day loading and off loading gear.
Day four was an early day for the Marines and sailors who woke up before sunrise to continue their route to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum at Charleston Harbor, S.C. While there the troops exhibited their vehicles and gear to the public, and talked to visitors.
“I think this exercise was a great opportunity to see where we are at as far as combat readiness goes,” said Cpl. Benjamin C. Christopher, a motor vehicle operator with CLB-8. “We had the chance to make sure everybody was doing their job correctly.”
Each individual had the opportunity to do a different job each day during the convoy.
“We kept rotating during the exercise,” Christopher added. “I think every single person got something out of this exercise.
“Some of us had to drive a certain number of miles for licensing purposes. Others had the chance to talk on the radios and command a vehicle,” he said. “Everybody received some experience training, which is going to help them during future operations.”
The Marines and sailors successfully concluded their exercise, traveling more than 1,000 miles through three states within their timeline and safely returning to Camp Lejeune.