FORT BRAGG, N.C. --
More than 500 Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, descended upon a massive training area at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 19 - 27, to conduct essential training for their upcoming seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The battalion conducted the training to help pass on the experience and knowledge from the seasoned veterans to those who have not yet deployed and to ensure everyone had a unified understanding of tactics, techniques and procedures for operation in a combat environment.
During the exercise, Marines and sailors held a live-fire range, constructed two Southwest Asia huts for students at the Army’s Basic Ranger Course, and ran numerous simulated convoys. Water purification technicians also supplied more than 18,000 gallons of purified water to the battalion while training inexperienced technicians on the purification process.
Two companies of Marines from 8th Engineer Support Battalion, who are attached to CLB-2 for their future deployment, provided engineer, heavy equipment and general combat logistics support.
Capt. Christian Felder, the company commander for Engineer Company, 8th ESB, says the opportunity to train for deployment with CLB-2 is invaluable and critical to the success of operations while in theater.
“This is an awesome opportunity for my guys,” Felder said. “This training gives them a chance to conduct operations like we would in a combat environment and to make mistakes now, so that when we get to Afghanistan, we are able to seamlessly conduct missions without pause.”
For the majority of Marines with the battalion this will be their third, fourth, and for some, fifth, combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. But not everyone in the battalion is combat-tested, so the main focus during the exercise was ensuring the new guys became efficient in their jobs before they deployed.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Wasalaski, a logistics vehicle systems operator, with CLB-2, is trained to drive 7-ton vehicles, Humvees and Logistics Vehicle Systems. He admitted he is nervous about going to combat, but still eager to put the training he’s received since boot camp to good use.
“I’m excited to serve my country and to do something beyond my basic combat training, the motor pool and beyond Camp Lejeune. I want to be able to actually get out there and do what I’ve learned up to this point and to challenge myself,” he said.
Although Wasalaski has been in the Corps for only one year, he already has a deep understanding of the importance of pre-deployment training.
“It is important that we not only train hard right now, but this is the time when we develop unit cohesion, camaraderie and a tight bond with each other. This is why I became a Marine, to have that brotherly bond with these guys,” he added.
As the training exercise concluded, the Marines and sailors of CLB-2 identified their deficiencies and look forward to follow-on training to correct and refine those shortcomings at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. The battalion is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this summer.