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Photo By Cpl. Aidan Hekker| U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Francisco Pallanesalejo Jr., center, a landing support specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, reaches for the hook controlled by a CH-53E Super Stallion to lift a Polaris MRZR, an ultra-light turbo diesel combat vehicle, during external lift operations at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, May 9, 2023. CLB-15 and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, worked together to test an innovative lift method utilizing wheel nets to inform publication and standard operating procedure development for the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aidan Hekker) 


CLB-15 Helicopter Support Team Inaugural MRZR Lift


MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Marine Corps' largest and most capable heavy-lift helicopter hovers above Marines on an airfield at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. As the rotor-wash creates a dust cloud, a helicopter support team (HST) attaches a load beneath the aircraft – a vehicle supported by a net. Once secure, the Marines clear the area as the CH-53E Super Stallion picked up its cargo and departs.

The HST Marines assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, were participating in an innovative lift exercise in conjunction with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, at Camp Pendleton, California, May 9.

HSTs are responsible for the rapid transportation of cargo via helicopter when it cannot be transported by ground or needs to be transported from ship to shore. In this exercise, CLB-15 and HMH-361 worked together to test a new lift method utilizing wheel nets to carry a Polaris MRZR, an ultra-light turbo diesel combat vehicle.

With a lift capacity of 36,000 pounds, the Super Stallion effortlessly lifted the 2,100-pound vehicle. However, the primary focus of the training exercise was on the stability and speed that the wheel nets provide during transport. As the air and ground teams completed runs, they discussed the chain and cable tension points to improve load stability. This allowed the aircraft to fly faster and mitigated concerns about losing the load.

“The team did an excellent job testing these wheel nets for future potential support,” said 1st Lt. Elyzabeth Duarteruiz, air delivery officer assigned to CLB-15.

The exercise was part of a comprehensive training program aimed at preparing the teams for various scenarios they may encounter while providing expeditionary logistical support – the primary mission assigned to combat logistics battalions.

The use of wheel-nets to carry vehicles such as the MRZR or other equipment significantly enhances CLB-15’s ability to transport supplies and equipment to and from expeditionary sites by minimizing time needed to load and unload cargo from aircraft, effectively decreasing the time required to transport said equipment.

“HSTs are an underutilized capability of transportation,” said Duarteruiz. “They provide a unique capability for resupply and recovery of all types of gear in environments where ground transportation is not feasible or very challenging.”

Under Force Design 2030 initiatives, the Marine Corps is transitioning to smaller and more agile, mobile, and lethal units to accomplish its assigned missions. HSTs will continue to play a critical role in supporting forward units such as Marine Expeditionary Units or Marine Littoral Regiments, or the joint force, by providing rapid transportation of personnel and equipment to and from the battlefield.

Overall, the use of wheel nets emphasizes the Marine Corps’ commitment to more modern and innovative solutions to support these evolving needs as new technologies and operational concepts emerge.


28 FEB 2023 | Story by Staff Sgt. Manuel SerranoPEO Land Systems

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ethan Jara, a native of East Bethel, Minnesota and an ammunition technician with III Marine Expeditionary Force Support Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, maneuvers his fire team on an Infantry Battle Platoon Course during a live fire range on U.S. Army Garrison Casey, Gyeonggi, South Korea, Feb. 10, 2023. III MSB is conducting Bushido Strike 23, which comprises training events including a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation in South Korea to validate its mission essential tasks of providing combat service, security and administrative services to III Marine Expeditionary Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by. Staff Sgt. Manuel

 U.S. ARMY GARRISON CASEY, South Korea – The Marine Corps is returning to its nature as a naval expeditionary force-in-readiness. Training in different environments, from tropical jungle climates to snow-covered mountains to the high seas, the Marine Corps prepares today’s warfighter for tomorrow’s demands.  

On Feb. 23, more than 90 Marines and sailors with III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Support Battalion (MSB) concluded a month-long unit training known as Bushido Strike 2023. III MSB enhanced and evaluated their combat readiness at U.S. Army Garrison Camp Casey, South Korea.

“Bushido Strike focuses on training, it builds resiliency, and it helps us to be prepared for war and our ability to deploy and fight now,” said Lt. Col. Richard Wagner, a Tacoma, Washington native and the commanding officer of III MSB.  

III MSB completed Bushido Strike 23 with a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) that validated its mission essential tasks as they pertain to combat readiness. The focus was to safely conduct training and imbue the Marines and sailors with a greater confidence in their warfighting skills.

“Every Marine is a rifleman,” said Sgt. Maj. Leonel Cuellar, a San Antonio native and the sergeant major of III MSB. “Even though we are not an infantry unit, we still have to perform rifleman skills. It is on us as a command to enable and put conditions in place to set them up for training. That is Bushido Strike.”  

III MSB provides and coordinates direct combat service support, security and administrative services to III MEF, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and III MEF Information Group (MIG) to sustain command and control and Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operations.  

“I’m biased obviously, but I love these Marines,” said Maj. Kevin Jones, a native of San Antonio and the training site commander. He shared how the MSB Marines do not take these opportunities for granted. Their enthusiasm stimulated productive training.  

The Marines and sailors participated in various events including a combat lifesaver course, pistol and rifle ranges, crew-served weapons ranges, live fire tactical vehicle convoys and various professional military education classes. During these evolutions, the Marines and sailors were exposed to new opportunities and they practiced being comfortable with the uncomfortable in the frigid South Korean winter.

“It is realistic training,” said Maj. Nicholas Cormier, a San Antonio native and the operations officer of III MSB. “It is as close as we can get to being able to do our job and increase our proficiency across all MOSs [Military Occupational Specialty]. Everyone is going to get on a weapon system and gain proficiency and knowledge.”  

The Infantry Platoon Battle Course (IPBC) was an integral event that allowed the Marines to exercise their leadership capabilities and maneuver a squad through the battlespace, all while demonstrating the skills of a basic rifleman.  

“The IPBC was the most important event to me,” said Sgt. Ethan Jara, a native of East Bethel, Minnesota and small arms technician with III MSB. “Understanding how to break down into fire teams as you conduct buddy rushes, maneuver into contact and close with the enemy to destroy them is critical.”  

Jara added that to be an effective rifleman, a Marine should understand the fundamentals of weapons handling and learning how to be comfortable with that  firearm. Bushido Strike provided the opportunity for everyone to train and learn side by side.  

“It is a good way to build a common knowledge with one another and still be held accountable to what a Marine should be doing as well,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Nora Wold, a native of Plainsfield, Illinois with III MSB. “At the end of the day, the Marine is a rifleman, so a corpsman should be out in the battlefield.”  

The Navy-Marine Corps team synergy started as soon as the unit arrived at Camp Casey. The medical team, comprised of a naval medical officer, a hospital corpsman chief, two hospital corpsmen petty officers and a hospital seaman, trained and certified more than 40 Marines in Tactical Combat Casualty Care/Combat Lifesaver Course.  

Aside from providing vital lifesaving skills, the sailors were also able to join the Marines throughout the training. The corpsmen qualified on the newly fielded M18 service pistol and fired crew-served weapons. The takeaway for the corpsmen was a better understanding of those lives entrusted to their care.

Most of the Marines that participated in Bushido Strike and the MCCRE will return to Okinawa, Japan following the training to continue to support MIG/MEB/MEF operations.  

“MEF Support Battalion Marines and sailors are the unsung heroes of III MEF,” said Wagner. “They understand that their jobs are not glorious, but it is absolutely essential for the MEF command element to focus on warfighting. We hope that this training builds confidence and a solid foundation that reinforces the basic warrior skills: shoot, move, communicate and treat casualties.”

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

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.

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.

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