Text Size

By Sgt. Desiree D King, Marine Corps Forces Central Command

190210-M-JO645-1001

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Naomi L. Polumbo, left, Lance Cpl. Jacob Walton, center, motor transport mechanics, and Lance Cpl Edgar Garcia, right, a small arms repairman, all with Combat Logistics Detachment 34, attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command, pose for a photo with a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle, Southwest Asia, February 10, 2019. As a quick reaction force, the SPMAGTF-CR-CC is capable of deploying aviation, ground and logistical forces forward at a moment’s notice. 

_________________________________________________________

UNDISCLOSED LOCATIONS, Southwest Asia --
Its 7 a.m. and the Middle-Eastern sun has just started chasing back the mist covering a line of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles. American flags wave and snap from the vehicles’ antennas, while idling engines hum with a consistently deep timbre. A platoon of infantry Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, attached to Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command, mill around their assigned armored trucks, waiting to start their day.

Today is motor stables—a kind of “field day”—cleaning and maintenance for the platoon’s trucks. The Marines inventory equipment, chip away layers of hardened mud from tire wells, identify mechanical issues and ensure the vehicles are ready for employment at a moment’s notice.

One of the trucks has a suspected brake issue, which has to be resolved before the next patrol goes out. But since none of the Marines with India Co. are certified mechanics, they bring issues to the attention of U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Naomi Polumbo and her team. A few hours later, the truck is repaired and back in its assigned spot amongst the vehicle lineup. 

Polumbo is a motor transport mechanic with Combat Logistics Detachment 34, temporarily assigned to India Co. for more than two months working as a mechanic and is a leader of the wrecker recovery team. Operating with one Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement wrecker, her team is responsible for lifting and towing armored vehicles such as the MRAP and mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicle.

Prior to this, Polumbo served at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California with 1st Maintenance Battalion. If that seemed far from her small hometown of Hopewell, Virginia, the distance pales in comparison to the 6,643 miles now between her and home. But the distance doesn’t bother her too much,because Polumbo volunteered to deploy, and she’s working in a field that she’s enjoyed for many years. 

“I love working on cars,” Polumbo explained. “I actually worked on cars with my dad prior to joining the Marine Corps. He was a tank mechanic when he served in the Army. He was happy to hear that I was going to be a mechanic as well.” 

Upon graduation from recruit training and Marine Combat Training in 2015, Polumbo attended the three-month long Motor Transport Mechanic School at Camp Johnson, North Carolina and discovered there’s a distinct difference between being a Marine Corps’ motor transport mechanic and working on cars back home. 

“I was learning to fix trucks and heavy equipment,” said Polumbo. “7-tons, wreckers, MRAPs, MATVs,” she said with a laugh. “When I was working on cars, I could just look something up on the internet if I had a question. Unfortunately, you can’t YouTube a 7-ton.” 

After Camp Johnson, Polumbo learned new skills and trained with her fellow mechanics in Camp Pendleton. When the opportunity presented itself to deploy, she took it without hesitation. 

“I really wanted to come out here.” Polumbo said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to re-enlist, but I didn’t want to say that I had been in the Marine Corps—training to deploy—and then never had the opportunity to actually to do my job. It was a personal goal.” 

A goal that she has accomplished in more ways than one. Polumbo volunteered to deploy with SPMAGTF-CR-CC, but didn’t realize how often her team would be called upon to assist operations. Although the mechanics of CLD-34 went through rigorous training prior to the deployment, the austere environment offered a fresh set of challenges; fewer resources and limited spare parts to make repairs.

“I love the independence and knowing that I’m doing my job in a real-world setting,” said Polumbo. 

That setting required that the mechanics operate in ever-changing conditions – including outside the camp. When a vehicle became inoperable during a convoy, it was up to them to get the crew and asset back safely. 

“Without us, they would have been stranded,” said Polumbo. “When we arrived, identified the problem and towed them back without any major issues—it was a good feeling.” 

In addition to an unfamiliar environment, she’s also one of only two female Marines embedded with India Co. This has added yet another facet to her experience; a positive one. 

“Working with the infantry and artillery Marines has been a great experience,” Polumbo explains. “They’re very willing to learn. They’re aggressive with learning how to fix a truck! If I show them something once, they remember it. These guys are smart, polite, and friendly.”

Polumbo and her team have become essential to India Co.’s mission by more than a means of vehicle recovery. They are treated as members of the India Co. family.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming out of here; you hear a lot of negative comments about ‘grunts,’ said Polumbo. “The Marines of India Co. were great to work with. I would absolutely do it again.”

Polumbo, CLD-34, and India Co. have completed many patrols in the Middle East. Even though she’s unsure of what the future has in store for her, Polumbo acknowledges that after this experience, re-enlisting is still on the table.

 

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.  The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement

Nov.3, 2018 |By Gunnery Sgt. Jason Fudge, 2nd Marine Logistics Group

Norwegian military members use a Bandvagn-206 to cross a medium girder bridge as part of Exercise Trident Juncture 18 near Voll, Norway, Oct. 30, 2018. The bridge construction enables ground units to complete a gap crossing during the exercise, which is one of the general engineering tasks 2nd Marine Logistics Group provides to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Trident Juncture 18 enhances the U.S. and NATO Allies’ and partners’ abilities to work together collectively to conduct military operations under challenging conditions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott R. Jenkins)

Voll, Norway -- 

U.S. Marines with 2nd Marine Logistics Group-Forward built a bridge Oct. 29, 2018, during the largest NATO exercise in more than 16 years. The Exercise Trident Juncture 18 provided a unique opportunity for Marines to train with other NATO and partner forces. With more than 50,000 troops from 31 nations participating in the exercise, Marines strengthened transatlantic bond in a dynamic and challenging environment. 

A unique capability the 2nd MLG provided to the II Marine Expeditionary Force, who is deployed to Norway for the exercise, was a bridge company that’s under 8th Engineer Support Battalion. Their mission provided general engineering support to the force with employing standard bridging to enhance mobility. 

During the exercise, Marines and U.S. Navy Seabees, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One, built a medium girder bridge to ensure maneuver of the Marine force. Almost 100 U.S. Marine Light Armored Vehicles and Norwegian Bandvagns, a Norwegian all-terrain tracked carrier vehicle, crossed the bridge immediately after its completion. 

“Gap crossing is a critical skill that engineers are tasked to accomplish,” says Capt. Jeffry Hart, the detachment officer in charge for 8th Engineer Support Battalion. “Being able to rapidly assess and breach a gap takes a lot of planning and coordination between all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and is always a challenge.” 

Some of the challenges the bridge company overcame during the exercise were due to the austere environment of Norway. According to Hart, the road leading up to the bridge is narrow with steep drop offs on each side, which complicated the transportation's movement. The bridge also iced over during deconstruction, creating a safety hazard for those Marines and Sailors working around the bridge. 

“This created a logistical challenge for staging and employing our bridge,” said Hart. “The Marines quickly adapted to the situation and accomplished the mission. The bridge was kept in pristine condition and was ready to use for our operation.”

Marines and Sailors swift actions helped this construction validate the most important aspect of the exercise for the U.S. Marine Corps, which is the relationship Marines built with NATO Allies and partners and Norwegians hosts, according to U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert G. Hedelund, the II MEF commanding general. 

“We have been reinvigorating our effort to know northern Europe better,” said Hedelund. “Should we have to come back here in extremis, the relationship with NATO is an extremely important part of that.” 

Building a bridge over a river, halfway around the world from the home station, was not the only challenge. It was also a battle of logistics, which is why the Marine Corps’ relationship with Norway is important. To assist in this battle and foster the close friendship, the Marine Corps turned to another capability that was available in this exercise. Since 1981, the Marine Corps has prepositioned equipment and supplies in Norway to enable a quicker response in times of crisis or contingency. The program, called Marine Corps Prepositioning Program – Norway, has been used to support logistics for combat operations like the war in Iraq. During Trident Juncture 18, the Marines utilized the concept by withdrawing equipment from caves to build the bridge. 

The prepositioning program in Norway enabled Marines access to prepositioned equipment and supplies to enable a quicker response in times of crisis or contingency. 

“I believe that logistics are the Achilles heel of any operations in the field,” said Navy Adm. James G. Foggo, the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples and the commander of Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “When we talk about the maritime domain, the land component, the air domain, cyber and space… we now have a sixth domain to talk about and that is logistics.”

The overall exercise, to include the bridge building construction, helped II MEF test and validate their warfighting capabilities across the warfighting domains, better preparing them to help support NATO Allies and partners.

 

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps  and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)  visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

 

 

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Cpl. Zachary Taylor instructs a Marine on how to use an M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 30, 2017. The Marines conducted a live-fire from the turrets of Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks, as part of a culminating event for the Combat Logistics Regiment 25 Command Post Exercise. Taylor is with the Battle Skills Training School, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

Photo By: Pfc.Taylor W.Cooper

 

 

Apr. 4, 2017

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: CLR-25 CONDUCTS CPX 

By Courtesy Story, II Marine Expeditionary Force

 

 

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. 

Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 25 conducted a series of combat convoy exercises at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, March 29 and 30, 2017.

 

The combat convoy was part of a larger event, the CLR-25 Headquarters Command Post Exercise, that lasted two weeks.

 

The exercises were designed to train Marines on scenarios they may encounter in a deployed environment. The Marines that made up the CPX were of different military occupational specialties such as supply clerks, motor transportation operators and maintenance management.

 

“You always have to be prepared for when the enemy attacks. We are practicing immediate action drills for when we find an improvised explosive device, a truck of ours gets hit, and when or if we come across the enemy. We have to know whatto do in these situations; we have to be prepared,” said Pfc. Zachary Goebel, a motor transportation operator with CLR-25.

 

The Marines conducted simulated convoys and also a live-fire drill from the turrets of Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks with M240B machine guns and M2 Browning .50-caliber machine guns for the culminating event of CLR-25 HQ’s CPX. Marines demonstrated their skills to prove they were ready to perform in real world circumstances.

 

“Exercises like this help with combat readiness because we are always ready, and we are always prepared to strike on the fly,” said Goebel.

 

“We are always using the skills we learned to better ourselves.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.

 

1/3 conducts CAAT mounted patrols during Exercise Bougainville I
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Robert Lindsay talks into a radio on a mounted patrol during Exercise Bougainville I at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, March 15, 2018. During this training event, the Marines conducted mounted patrols as a combined anti-armor team. Exercise Bougainville I is used to train Marines to fight in the small-unit level and build their proficiency for future deployments. Lindsay, a native of Bangor, Pennsylvania, is with 1st Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment. He graduated from Bangor High School. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Tso)

 

3d Marine Regiment-3d Marine Division
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

1/3 Conducts CAAT Mounted Patrols During Exercise Bougainville MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --By Lance Cpl. Eric Tso | 3rd Marine Regiment | March 16, 2018


U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment conducted combined anti-armor team mounted patrols during Exercise Bougainville I at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, March 15, 2018.

The Marines dealt with simulated improvised explosive devices and ambushes throughout the patrols and were put through a scenario where a simulated IED went off, taking out a Humvee and causing a simulated casualty. 

“We definitely kept [the IED] a secret from them, they didn’t expect it,” said 1st Lt. Shane Wescott, a platoon commander with 1st Bn., 3d Marines. “When we got that first initial hit, they jumped out of the vehicles, posted up security and did the best that they could in order to react to that situation.”

The training event is a continuation of Exercise Bougainville I since its start at the beginning of the month. This exercise is an opportunity for Marines to conduct small unit level training to prepare for Exercise Bougainville II and future deployments.

“After an IED blast, there’s usually an ambush so we take action based on what happens,” said Lance Cpl. Spencer Burkman, a native of Dayton, Ohio and an anti-tank missilemen with Weapons Co. “The biggest thing to do is to provide security and make sure there’s no ambush. If there is, we can take out the threat, get the vehicle out of the area and return home safely with everybody.”

The Marines are occupying a simulated Forward Operations Base on MCTAB for the week long training event. The location challenges CAAT, which is designed for anti-armor in a large open environment, allowing them to conduct their training in realistic environments such as jungle and urban terrain.

“It’s all going to be situationally dependent,” said Wescott, a native of North Andover, Massachusetts. “We have to change up a lot of things to adjust to a more jungle environment. Dismounting more Marines, changing the way we return fire, changing the way that we react to close and far ambushes, essentially adjusting everything that we have learned and adjust them to that more confined jungle environment that we’re dealing with.”

Login - All Pages



Back to Top