CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) convoyed to various bases in the vicinity of Helmand’s volatile Sangin district Aug. 26.
Their mission was two-fold. In addition to resupplying frontline troops with general sustainment items such as fresh food and water, they also cast their first stone in the realm of the imminent realignment and retrograde of troops in Afghanistan.
Elements of the convoy made stops at Forward Operating Base Nolay, Combat Outpost Ouellette and Patrol Bases Alcatraz and Robinson to load gear no longer needed in the sustainment of operations.
“That’s our standing mission – always be prepared to backhaul,” noted Lt. Col. Ralph J. Rizzo Jr., the commanding officer of CLB-6.
The battalion’s predecessor, CLB-8, did a tremendous job pulling back battle-damaged gear from outlaying bases, said Rizzo, and it is his Marines’ job to maintain that tempo of support. Some of the damaged gear can even be salvaged and repaired once it is back aboard Camp Leatherneck or shipped stateside.
“With this economy, it’s our duty to do right by the taxpayers’ money,” said Rizzo.
Since touching down in theater nearly a month ago, Rizzo and his battalion sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Phillip Orellano, have made it a point to accompany their Marines on such convoys to get a first-hand view of what they can do to support the infantrymen scattered throughout the area of operation.
“I like to touch base with the commanders,” said Rizzo. “Any units that can identify things early on – things not needed in the fight, we’ll take it all off their hands.”
Though this aspect of a convoy is appreciated by the multitude of unit’s posted around the area of operation, it is the items delivered into the infantrymen’s stomachs that many look forward to.
Also along for the mission was a refrigerated container containing a multitude of fresh and frozen food items – a rare treat for many of the troops operating in some of Helmand province’s most austere and isolated environments.
“To have things like fresh fruits and vegetables is a huge quality of life boost for the Marines out here,” said 1st Lt. Caelyn Furman, a platoon commander with Bravo Company, CLB-6.
Lance Cpl. Brant Day, a food service specialist with 2nd MLG (FWD), is augmented to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and has spent the last two months preparing food items like the ones delivered by CLB-6 for the Marines based with him at Patrol Base Alcatraz.
“It’s a big deal for these guys,” said Day, a native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“My sergeant and I take a lot of pride in preparing good food. It’s something they all look forward to and I’m glad to be apart if it,” Day said.