Marine Corps Logistics Base ALBANY Ga. --
What do you call 65 Marines in 20 military vehicles traveling at an average speed of 30 mph for more than 625 miles? A long-range convoy.
Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion-8, Second Marine Logistics Group, Camp Lejeune, N.C., conducted their first long-range convoy in the U.S., making Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany the halfway point. Arriving here March 13, they began their journey March 12.
“The purpose of the convoy is to bring tactical vehicles together, like any other tactical movement, and apply our training mission essential tasks to it,” 1st Lt. Alex Jabbal, executive officer, Company A, CLB-8, said. “For this particular evolution, we focused on transportation operations and distribution operations. Within those operations are convoy movements, tactical convoy execution, command and control and the movement of personnel and gear.”
It took the Marines two days to reach MCLB Albany with a stopover at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., and overnight stay at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C.
During their stay, the Marines toured several Marine Corps Logistics Command facilities including Fleet Support Division and Marine Depot Maintenance Command as part of their professional military education.
“We met with supply management personnel and learned how gear is stored both in the short and long term and how gear is re-fitted or new gear is pushed out to operating units such as the Marine Expeditionary Forces across the Marine Corps,” Jabbal said. “We also learned how gear is moved from the U.S. to Marines in theater.
“The Marines got a different perspective and a better understanding of how we, as tactical operators, move gear and equipment the last couple of miles,” he added. “The personnel here coordinate that first several thousand miles and now the Marines understand how it all fits together.”
The Marines then toured MDMC’s Production Plant Albany and learned about its capabilities, vehicle production timeline and how vehicles are moved out to the warfighters.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the Marines to see the layers of support that exist to support us on the front lines doing tactical execution,” Jabbal said. “Luckily, we have a lot of Marines with a fair amount of experience in terms of deployments, so they have seen a lot of the tactical execution and this gives them an opportunity to see the support that backs them up.”
The convoy has allowed the Marines to witness another side of Marine Corps logistics, according to Jabbal.
“Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is a well kept secret of the Marine Corps that our Marines have appreciated getting exposure and understanding of,” he said.
For Cpl. Timothy Lewing, motor transportation operator, Co. B, this was his first time visiting MCLB Albany.
“I use to ask ‘why does it take so long to get our vehicles back,’” he said. “Now I understand the process here and the time it takes for a vehicle to go from here to when it arrives to us at the motorpool.”
Lewing said he learned there are two places in the Marine Corps where vehicles are repaired, here and MDMC’s Production Plant Barstow, Calif. The tour of MDMC was very impressive, he added.
“I have more confidence in the vehicles we ride in because we have true supporters building them,” Lewing said, who has deployed to Afghanistan twice.
Staff Sgt. Olando Girard, platoon sergeant, Co. A, said most of the CLB-8 Marines have served in Afghanistan.
“The convoy was a great opportunity for the combat-seasoned Marines to mentor the junior Marines,” he said. “The long-range convoy allowed the junior Marines to understand what it feels like to ride for 6-10 hours in full combat gear, learn how to keep convoy communications open and pay attention to their surroundings while operating a vehicle.” The Marines departed MCLB Albany, March 15, for a community relations event at Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., and arrived back at Camp Lejeune, March 17.