Text Size

1 OCT 2020 | Gunnery Sgt. Steve Cushman 3rd Marine Division

U.S. Marines conduct a fire mission during a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System rapid infiltration exercise at Ie Shima, Japan
Photo by: Cpl. Donovan Massieperez

OKINAWA, Japan —
U.S. Marines refined their ability to rapidly deploy to remote regional islands in order to control key maritime terrain as 3rd Marine Division and 3rd Marine Logistics Group conducted operations September 23 - 25 centered on the Okinawan island of Ie Shima.  

During this operation, elements of 12th Marine Artillery Regiment partnered with Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Squadron to develop the unit’s ability to rapidly insert and employ a range of military capabilities from remote islands within littoral areas of the region. Jumping from Air Force C-130s, Marines and Sailors from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion conducted a high altitude-low opening jump to secure an airfield on Ie Shima. Once secured, an Air Force C-130 loaded with a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher landed and conducted a simulated precision-guided firing mission. Shortly after finding and destroying the simulated target, the HIMARS launcher reloaded and departed the island having completed its mission.  

Simultaneously, Marines from Combat Logistics Regiment 3 and 9th Engineer Support Battalion, at nearby locations in Okinawa, established an expeditionary advanced logistics base and practiced the ability to resupply the forwardpositioned element on Ie Shima. Their efforts included surface reinforcement and resupply of Ie Shima and tested the ability to move fuel ashore under expeditionary conditions. The exercise represented a step forward in demonstrating how III Marine Expeditionary Force units can leverage the unique capabilities of joint partners in rapidly dispersing to and operating from key maritime terrain, sustain these distributed positions, and quickly displace or withdraw as necessitated by the tactical situation.

“The training we’re conducting is helping us enhance and expand our concepts of employment and increase our ability to conduct distributed maritime operations.”  Capt. Robert O’Neill, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion platoon commander

“Today’s mission provided us an opportunity to work with the Air Force, and it's also an opportunity for reconnaissance elements to integrate with the HIMARS launcher and its crew,” said Marine Capt. Robert O’Neill, a platoon commander with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, and Brookville, Maryland native. “The training we’re conducting is helping us enhance and expand our concepts of employment and increase our ability to conduct distributed maritime operations.”

The reconnaissance platoon, which boasts more than 700 jumps in a tactical environment among its current members, served as a key enabler for the operation by conducting a low-signature insertion and ensuring the security of the airfield. The employment of C-130s to quickly transport the HIMARS extends the range and efficiency with which the Marine Corps can employ missiles and rockets, increasing the lethality of the force.

“During HIMARS rapid infiltration missions, we routinely practice sending and receiving targeting data over a variety of over-the-horizon communication methods,” said Maj. John Huenefeld, operations officer for 12th Marine Regiment, originally from Oceanside, California. “By tapping into the network of sensors, we ensure the ability of 3rd Marine Division to fight now with long-range precision fires.”

U.S. Air Force C-130s from 1st Special Operations Squadron delivered Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and a HIMARS launcher from 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment.


“This opportunity is important because, if a real fight happens, we are going to use every available asset. The Air Force will work alongside the Marine Corps,” said Air Force Maj. Sean A. Sizemore, an air mobility liaison officer with Air Mobility Command, and Sacramento, California native. “The Air Force integrating with the Marine Corps ensures we remain highly interoperable. When a fight comes, we can get the Marines behind enemy lines or to where the fight is.”

Following this rapid seizure of key maritime terrain, Marines with CLR-3 and 9th ESB sustained forward-positioned forces from expeditionary advanced logistics bases and established a Forward Arming and Refueling Point on Ie Shima to support follow-on air operations.

“We demonstrated the ability to conduct aviation refueling while operating within the construct of expeditionary advanced base operations,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jake Alamguer, a bulk fuel officer with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd MLG.

Practicing distributed operations integrated with joint partners and across the Marine Air-Ground Task Force ensures that III MEF remains postured to deter aggression and defeat any adversary. 
“It’s very important, if we want to succeed in a naval contested environment, that we maintain a force that is highly lethal, resilient, redundant, and responsive,” said Colonel Michael Roach, commanding officer of 12th Marine Regiment.

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


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. 


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

Photo By Pfc. Mark Fike, 3rd Marine Logistics Group
A Polaris MRZR lands after being dropped from a C-130 May 22, 2018, on Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan. Marines conducted air drop operations dropping a type-five platform, door bundles, free fall and static line jumpers, and the Polaris MRZR onto the island. 3rd Marine Logistics Group Marines worked alongside Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, during the regularly scheduled training evolution to complete their first ever successful drop of a Polaris MRZR from a C-130


OKIAWA, Japan —

Marines with 3rd Marine Logistics Group and 3rd Force Reconnaissance Team dropped a Polaris MRZR4-900, a gas-powered combat vehicle, for the first time May 22, 2018, on Ie Shima Island, Okinawa, Japan, as part of regularly scheduled training.

According to Lt. Col. Matthew Mulvey, commanding officer of 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, the training validated the effectiveness of the rigging platform for the Polaris MRZR and trained the unit on safe and proper ways to handle the equipment.

The Polaris MRZR offers an agile off-road design that can be used for missions ranging from rapid personnel deployment to command and control and casualty evacuation to supply transport missions.

“This is just another option that is available to the [Marine Air Ground Task Force] commander on how to deliver equipment and sustain the warfighter,” Mulvey said. “It opens up the spectrum of capabilities that he is able to employ.” 

During the training, Marines with 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, worked alongside Marines with 3rd FRT, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.  

"This drop shows the expeditionary capability of the Reconnaissance community and its increasing ability to operate in a deeper battlespace. This drop is being used as progression to validating the MRZR as more than just a logistics/resupply vehicle, but also an infiltration platform and a command and control platform in support of reconnaissance operations," said the Force Reconnaissance Company Commander.  "The next step will be to integrate it into high altitude, high opening parachute operations, making its support to our operations even more versatile and expeditionary." 

Landing Support Company, 3rd TSB, is the only III MEF unit that maintains a large-scale air drop capability. It has the ability to deliver heavy equipment, as well as vehicles and pallets weighing over 4000 pounds, in garrison and combat environments.

The parachutes used to conduct the cargo drops were designed with holes to reduce time in the air and to land accurately in the drop zone. Regular parachutes delay the time it takes for an asset to reach the ground, because they don’t allow for smooth air flow during the landing process. The main purpose of the modified parachutes is to augment deployed units in areas that may have enemy forces nearby.

The drop zones used for the training were specifically chosen based on surveys that are conducted every five years. The surveys ensure that the zone is sufficient in size and free of hazards affecting the Marines or the surrounding community.      

"Each piece of equipment has a detailed weight manual that tells our air delivery specialists how to prepare the equipment for safe delivery,” said Mulvey. “The planning began with the vision that 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion had when they decided they wanted to try to drop this vehicle for a follow-on deployment by their reconnaissance teams.”

One of the missions of the training was to test the unit’s ability to accurately drop the MRZR from a KC-130 and assess the vehicle after it landed. After dropping the MRZR, 3rd TSB Marines jumped from the KC-130 on a static line at 700 feet and later conducted high altitude free-falls from 13,000 feet. 

"It was a great learning opportunity for our [Marines]," said Sgt. Brenden Tuxbury, a jump master and air delivery specialist with 3rd TSB.

Tuxbury said the Marines enjoyed every second they got to jump through the sky and train. 

”I wouldn’t change my job for anything in the world,” said Cpl. Logan Horn, an air delivery specialist with 3rd TSB. “The opportunity to work with reconnaissance and to help them with the jump was an amazing opportunity.” 

Mulvey said his Marines really appreciate the Japanese government for allowing the units to conduct the tests on the island of Ie Shima.

 “It’s one of the only areas that the unit can get to in a short amount of time and practice the procedures that allow us to fight tonight and win,” said Mulvey.

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.

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