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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
BICmd hosts training exercise

By Staff Sgt. Timothy C. Hodge | | July 11, 2002

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BLOUNT ISLAND COMMAND Jacksonville, Fla. The Marine Corps' Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted C Company and elements of 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Fleet Service Support Group for the training exercise Able Crescent 2002, June 11-16. The reservists from Charleston, S.C., took part in the off-load of the Maritime Prepositioning Force ship the MV Hauge while conducting additional training to learn more about MPF operations.

The Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Forces are comprised of all the assets and supplies needed to support the employment of Marine Expeditionary Forces in a combat environment. The Marine Corps' three current Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons are made up of 15 MPF ships that have the unique strategic prepositioning capability of providing swift delivery of vital equipment and supplies to virtually any area of operation.

Embarkation Marines from the BICmd assisted and guided the reservists through the various aspects of the removal and accountability of gear aboard the mammoth prepositioning ship.

The MV Hauge is one if six MPF ships that make up Maritime Prepositioning Squadron Two. MPSRON Two operates out of Diego Garcia but due the nature of the MPF mission precludes these ships from claiming a permanent homeport.

Within a day of arrival, the 4th LSB Marines were fully engaged in the off-load sequence. The reservists made short work of their share of the off-load and managed to clear their designated decks and portions of the ship ahead of schedule.

The reservists' exercise was more significant than simply fulfilling the unit's annual training requirement.

"By assisting with the off-load, these Marines have saved the command dollars that would have been paid to contracted stevedores and, more important, have prepared themselves to perform a vital function in the event of a contingency," said William H. Newton, deputy director, Blount Island Command.

In addition to the actual performance of an off-load sequence, the 4th LSB Marines were training to learn their role in a Combat Service Support Operations Center. The Marines also gained valuable hands-on experience with the Marine Air Ground Task Force Deployment Support System and equipment.

"By augmenting the Blount Island personnel during an off-load evolution, these Marines are afforded a great opportunity to train and become more familiar with the MPF concept," said Lt. Col. William H. Thomas, Operations Division director, BICmd.

The off-load experience provided 4th LSB Marines with the hands-on background and practical knowledge that will enable them to provide better throughput and sustainment support to the Marine Expeditionary Forces.




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