MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Headquarters Marine Corps, in conjunction with Marine Corps Systems Command and Marine Corps Logistics Command, recently established the Command Support Team Detachment to expedite fulfillment of critical communications equipment shortfalls throughout the Marine Corps.
The purpose of the detachment is to identify, conduct limited technical inspections of and to make equipment returned from Overseas Contingency Operations available for re-issue to Marine Corps units and training commands.
The 20-man detachment, the first of its kind, was assembled at II Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Marines arrived at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Feb. 19, and are scheduled to complete their 90-day project by May 20.
“Headquarters Marine Corps contacted LOGCOM and wanted to know what critical communications equipment was coming back from Operation Iraqi Freedom that could be quickly repaired and put back into the hands of the warfighter,” said Capt. Kenneth Bevel, reset cell lead, LOGCOM. “Most of the equipment that has come back from Iraq has been in the fight, but with minor adjustments it can go right back out to the Fleet Marine Force.”
The detachment is staffed with Marines throughout the Corps, from Okinawa, Japan, to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Most of the Marines have not worked together and some are on their first tour of duty.
“The Marine Corps has brought 17 young Marines into one location to do a mission and within and few days they have accomplished more than I have seen Marines do in a long time,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 John Batchelor, officer in charge,
Communication Support Team Detachment. “We have some of the brightest Marines in today’s Corps and they are phenomenal.”
The other three Marines include the OIC, staff noncommissioned officer in charge and a communications chief.
According to Batchelor, the Marines’ job is to identify communications equipment, sort and return it to the In-Stores shelves of LOGCOM so the equipment can be issued to the FMF.
The Marines will accomplish their task in two phases; conducting LTIs and then identifying accessory items, known as Stock List-3 and SL-4.
In phase one, the principle end item communication equipment is inspected to determine its condition and after passing inspection, it is tested to make sure it’s operational.
In phase two, the Marines identify all SL-3/SL-4 related equipment that is associated with the PEI and includes them in the shipment.
In addition to LTIs and SL-3/-4, the Marines also identify equipment that is coming off the battlefield that may otherwise go unrecognized.
“We know the items that have been cataloged in the database called System of Records, but for the unknown items that come back from Iraq, we rely on the experience of the Marines of the Command Support Team Detachment,” Batchelor said. “These Marines sorting the equipment have used it in theaters, while some of these are items that have not been seen by anyone here at MCLB Albany. This is why the Command Support Team Detachment has been established. The Marines know the process in which it works and how valuable it is to the warfighter.”
According to Bevel, this is an enterprise effort.
“This effort is a partnership between LOGCOM and the MEFs,” Bevel said. “It’s not a one-sided deal. This is to benefit everybody.”
“The Marines are doing the LTIs on the equipment, and then they are putting it back into the In-Stores account, which is basically the Marine Corps supply account,” Bevel said. “Once they have put the equipment back into the In-Stores account, then it is able to be fielded to the priority units first, then to the Marine Expeditionary Force.”
Bevel said this effort will assist the critical units which need the equipment faster, based on the commandant’s priorities. The critical units consist of not only those on the front line, but for training commands as well.
“The mission of the detachment is to get the critical communication equipment through the LTI process and back on the shelf, so it can go back out to the Fleet Marine Force whether it is for training or back to the operating force,” Batchelor pointed out.
Cpl. Byron Bogle, wireman, CST Det., has used the equipment firsthand during his tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Brandywine, Md., native served in three different places in Iraq: Gannon, which is along the Syrian boarder; the South Fallujah District in Fallujah; and Camp Taqaddum, during his seven-month deployment.
While in theater, Bogle laid down cable and worked on phone lines.
“Here, I am searching for phones and different types of cables and putting them together, and gathering information such as National Stock Numbers and Table and Authorized Material Control Number for the cables,” he said. “Once the research has been completed and cables tagged, they are then boxed up for shipment.”
Bogle, from Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, said cables are needed because a lot of them get cut during operations when tanks and other vehicles run over them. He said that seeing a lot of the cable in good condition is a plus.
“There is a lot of equipment here and I know the Marines can use them in theater,” he said. “It is my job to sort the equipment and get it to the warfighter or training commands as fast as possible.”
According to Bevel, this is a special effort for Alpha TAMCNs.
He also said this could not have happened if it were not for the cooperation of everyone involved. “I want to commend the C-4 community and MEFs to bring this effort together,” he said. “They did a phenomenal job going out and getting the MEFs and bringing them in during the assessment in December. They figured out what needed to be done and communicated that message, selling the idea to the MEF commanders. We know it is difficult, especially now when Marines are serving in combat operations, to pull the Marines out of the MEF to come down here to do a job for the Marine Corps. They had the Marine Corps enterprise in mind when they came down here.”